22 May 2017 | Saint Augustine FL
21 May 2017 | Saint Augustine FL
20 May 2017 | Daytona, Seven Seas Marina
19 May 2017 | Anchorage Cocoa Fl
18 May 2017 | Eau Gallie Yacht Basin
17 May 2017 | Eau Gallie Yacht Centre
16 May 2017 | Mooring field at Stuart
15 May 2017 | Sunset Bay Marina, mooring ball 53, Stuart FL
14 May 2017 | Sunset Bay Marina Stuart FL
13 May 2017 | Sunset Bay Marina, Stuart FL
12 May 2017 | Sunset Bay Marina Stuart, FL
11 May 2017 | Sunset Bay Marina, Stuart, FL
09 May 2017 | Indiantown Marina
08 May 2017 | Indiantown, Stuart, Indiantown, Stuart, Indiantown
07 May 2017 | Indiantown Marina, still at the docks but progress is happening. Hurrah!
06 May 2017 | Indiantown At the dock
05 May 2017 | Indiantown Marina/in the water
04 May 2017 | Indiantown Marina on the hard
Hot day in Saint Augustine
22 May 2017 | Saint Augustine FL
Big decisions were made today. We were looking at the long range forecast and saw a succession of T-storms beginning late tomorrow and continuing pretty much all week with an occasional 24 hour break. With strong winds this isn't the best time for us to be offshore. We could nip up the coast today as far as Fernandina Beach and then we would be sitting there for three or four days, or continue a little ways up the ICW into Georgia to where before it gets too skinny. Or we could stay here in Saint Augustine for another day on an inexpensive mooring ball, and go up the ditch tomorrow. We have elected for the latter. We can stop tomorrow night at Cumberland Island and then either wait out the weather or continue to crawl along and make northing the slow way in the ICW or in day long outside hops. I was just thinking that if this keeps up we will be able to buddy boat with our friends aboard Moonlight Maid when they come down to put her back in the water at the first part of June.
I was looking over last night's post and realized that I was remiss in one thing - our experience in the Matanzas Inlet. Good news for cruisers! When we came through I never saw less than 10' under our keel in the centre of the charted channel. In fact, the channel was deeper, after the recent dredging, than the approaches.
Anyway, we deployed the dingy and Susie performed well and we went into the dock instead of calling for the tender. Besides giving us a little independence it has the additional advantage of allowing us to stay ashore until after 1800 since that is when the tender service stops. At least it might also be cooler I guess in the evening. Our walk around morning showed that some things have changed, for instance the little French patisserie that we liked so much last time we came through is closed. Too bad. That was where Barb wanted to go for dinner. Instead we found a little Mom and Pop Polish/Greek restaurant that we heard good things about so we will try there.
We went into the AC in the lounge/laundromat to do a laundry before heading on up the ditch tomorrow. Yours truly was running out of socks and I don't feel comfortable about running around on the deck in bare feet - too many things to stub your toes on. I did take an eight block walk up Bridge Street to an old fashioned marine supply store which was the closest place in Historic Saint Augustine that I could buy a lock to be able to secure the dingy to the dock when we go ashore. I have walked further but not in heat like this for quite a while. The last time was a forced march in CFB Valcartier. Back at the laundry there was a mid to late twenties lady in there at 0830 sleeping and was there until 1200. She clearly had a marina supplied swipe card and was able to get into the lounge and the showers, so we weren't quite sure what to make of it when she began trying to bum "a coupla bucks" from people. I guess it takes all kinds. It just doesn't seem right since she has to be at least crew for someone's yacht.
It's funny to be staying somewhere when you're not really intending to visit. I mean, here in Saint Augustine we have no intention of visiting or doing the touristy thing, we have already done that on a previous visit. I have just figured out that we are actually here to be able to do a laundry and have a promised diner out. Very little else. I did, however, up myself two new shirts to wear. When we came down dumb old me forgot to bring some of my summer shirts, the ones with collars. As a result, all I had with me were t-shirts which left me considerably under dressed when Barb and I would go out for dinner. That problem has been rectified.
At noon I was once again wondering if we had made a mistake, staying here today for another night, the winds for the morning and up to 1500 were about 10-15 knots and just out of the south. We could have gone out the exit, popped the asymmetrical and giddy-up and away.... but by 1600 the winds had increased quickly to 30 gusting 40+ knots out of the east providing small whitecaps and a chop in the river, so if it keeps up it would have been a bumpy ride. As it was, in spite of the current north to south, with the strong east wind, Nelleke is sailing back and forth over her mooring. I am glad that they are really strong, very well separated, and that the ball is plastic. Still, it's a little nerve wracking hearing the thump, thump, thump as she moves back and forth over the mooring. I would have thought that the current would have held her but I guess that shows the strength of the wind. Barb has even attached the underway bungee cords to the hurricane lamp that hangs over the seton table. That's how much things are swinging about.
This is the first time we have taken a mooring north of the Bridge of Lions and I am watching the behaviour of the other boats. They are more or less doing the same with those closer to shore seeming to be more stable. I looked over the other side of the bridge to the south mooring field and they all seem to be doing the same there too, although they are much closer together.
Right now I am trying to figure out where we will go after Fernandina Beach. We could carry on up the ICW but the notorious Little Muddy River is within 40 miles. That piece if the ICW always seems to be very shallow with e best you can hope is maybe you can get through at high tide. I would rather go offshore, even if only for a daylight sail, to one of the inlets further up and then tuck back in if we have to. We will call TowBoatUS for local intel again once we get to Fernandina tomorrow.
The mom and pop Polish/Greek restaurant turned out to be a real discovery. It's only problem is that at present its hours are 1100-1800. We only just got in, fortunately. Its name is Gaufres &a Goods and we would recommend it highly. They are considering changing their hours to 1100-1400 and 1700-2100 or so. Regardless it is a very short walk from the dingy dock at 212 Charlotte Street and can be telephoned at (904)829-5770.
Saint Augustine FL
21 May 2017 | Saint Augustine FL
Mike/sunny, hot, humid, rainy
Here we are, safely at a mooring in St Augustine and trying to decide if we will be here overnight or for another day. The deciding factors will be our desire to have a diner ashore and he weather.
Bright and early this morning and we were up and getting Nelleke ready for departure which included first parade and topping up the water. We also decided to buy fuel here so we wouldn't have to put into a dock in a couple of days. For what it's worth at 2300 rpm which gives us a little over 6 knots through the water in calm weather we burn about 1/2 gallon, which I find quite acceptable. We have a 90 gallon fuel tank so we have in the order of 180 hours of steaming time plus we have an additional 10 gallons on deck for in extremis situations. Counting on fingers and toes that means we would have six days of motoring and still have something left in the tank. One part of my first parade might be a little different from everyone else's as I always check the four bolts on my transmission coupling. Twice now, once with the old keyed coupling, and once with the new one, I have had the shaft come loose. Let me tell you, it ain't much fun, especially when you think about what could happen if you are at sea and the whole thing pulls out. That's an inch and a half hole, three feet below the waterline! How long can you tread water?
There is a little breakfast cafe on the property of this marina that opens at 0700 which is great 'cause it gives you enough time to have a really good home made breakfast before the marina proper opens at 0800. Which is what we did this morning. Fascinating little place. We were there actually before their opening time, but we were allowed in anyway, and with five staff, we were to only ones there. Maybe it gets busier later in the morning.
Rude word! Rude word!
Remember yesterday's post where I said we stopped earlier than I wanted to because the next bridge was closed until 1800?
This morning as we approached it we discovered that it was not only open, but it was permanently open, never to be closed again. It is being replaced by a fixed overhead bridge and if I had continued or radioed ahead yesterday I would have found out.
Sigh! Oh well!
We saw several manatees again today and I have begun to hope that based on the number we have been seeing that they are making a come back. I have said it before and I will say it many more times I'm sure but the British sailors who thought that they were mermaids must have either had very poor experience with women back in Blighty or been at sea for so long they actually thought that an 800 pound animal with a hare lip and whiskers was beautiful.
One more musing for the day. We are still seeing boats that clearly have no traveling purpose, that are simply a residence for someone. They most often have 3, 4 or even 5 anchors out, with a completely fouled bottom, a collection of scavenged treasures on the deck, and, in many cases, no mast. There are way fewer of them than there were the last time we came down, due, I'm afraid, to Hurricane Mathew. You see a lot of them on their sides in the shoreline. We can only hope that the people living on them were able to get off. There was one, however, that absolutely boggled my mind. It was anchored in Mosquito River just north of Titusville. No place within 15 miles to land a dingy. Why would someone pick that spot?
Our arrival at the mooring field in St Augustine was not without its adventures as we provided the amusement for the mooring field as we made not one, not two, but three passes at the buoy before we were able to collect the pennant in a three knot current with a wind at 90 degrees. We did so with minimal loss of temper and not losing the boathook over the side. I think many cruisers regularly make a contribution to Neptune in the form of a boathook that gets ripped from your hands during a particularly delicate mooring manoeuvre.
After we stopped I have laid in several courses on the GPS - Beaufort SC, Charleston SC, Southport NC, and Beaufort NC - all possible offshore destinations. If we can get a two day or more weather window tomorrow we will toddle off shore. If not we will head on up the ditch again to Fernandina Beach and try again there.
Oh well. That's the lifestyle isn't it?
Plodding further north
20 May 2017 | Daytona, Seven Seas Marina
Mike/ for something completely different - hot!
Up early, first parade, raise up the dingy, up anchor, clean all the smelly mud off the foredeck and we're underway. Today where will we end up?
Plan A was to head out the Canaveral Barge Canal and anchor at a nice little spoil Island that we know of where the Canal crosses the Banana River. Nice but not doing much towards getting us home.
Plan B was pretty much the same except we wouldn't anchor but continue on through into the Atlantic. That idea had merit except for one small detail - for the first part of the day until early afternoon there was almost no wind so we would have been motoring anyway, so that brings us to......
Plan C. This would have us continue on up the ICW today and get as far as at least Daytona where would anchor and continue the next day on northward with the goal of picking up a mooring ball in St Augustine where I would take Barb out for dinner. The only concern I had about Plan B was the condition of the ICW, particularly in the area of Matanzas River. The last couple of times we came through there it was beyond skinny and we only got through by following someone else who draws 6' and he carved out a path for us. Barb called TowBoatUS and spoke to the guy responsible for that area and he said that they had just finished dredging it and he went through it yesterday evening and never saw less than 12' in the charted channel. Really good Intel!
Well, all good plans often fail in the execution and this was partially true here. We we're rocking around and I was just congratulating myself with how we had timed things to get the best of the currents at the inlets, and an opening at the first of two scheduled bridges that we were going to go through today. Then, pride goeth before a fall, as they say, and the last bridge that we would have to transit before getting to the planned anchorage for tonight was going to shut for more than an hour just before we arrived.
But, all was not lost. There was one of those old marinas right on our starboard side that we had stayed at a couple of times in the past and it was still $1.10/ft. So we thought, nuts to this! It's supposed to be fun. So tonight we are having another inexpensive night alongside. It gave us a chance to hit a convenience store and relax. The only thing that I will be missing is that I had pretty much convinced Barb to go skinny-dipping off our stern tonight, but now I guess that's out.
Speaking of skinny dipping, we saw lots of manatees on this leg of the trip both solo animals and herds. As we were transiting the Haulout Canal there was a backwater that was full of them, at least a half dozen, perhaps more, and they had either found a particularly nice patch of underwater vegetation and they were in the manatee equivalent of a feeding frenzy, or it was that time of year and they were making manatee whoopie.
And speaking of making whoopie, I can't believe the number of people that were out on the water today! I can't believe the sunburns in the back of some truly immense guys! All I could think about when I saw them was beached Orcas. And, I can't believe the size of some women who wear next to nothing for a bikini! In fairness it was great to see everyone out enjoying themselves on a beautiful Saturday, especially families with their kids on he spoil islands playing in the sand or wading out to fish.
All in all, a good day.
Barb amused herself by thinking up the Florida version of Hinterland Who's Who. She started on the young males of the species - ball hats on backwards, reflective wrap around sunglasses, bare chested and sunburned, board shorts partly slipped down to accommodate their already growing beer bellies, driving overpowered gas guzzlers at top speed in no-wake zones - called "red backed chick attractors". If they survive long enough they "mature" to be called "heart-attack-waiting-to-happen geezers" with plumage that they appear to think disguises their corpulence but still seeming to be able to attract scantily clad young females of the species. We don't pretend to understand all of the mating rituals of the males of the species as found in this stretch of the ICW but tomorrow, still the weekend, we will be carrying out more field research.