11/27/2010, Telemar Bay Marina
Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. Ours was definitely different than we have ever experienced before. We did miss family and turkey dinner but did not miss the freezing temps and snow back in Minnesota. We purchased bikes at the local Walmart soon after arriving so we rode our bikes to the beach, 80 degrees ;) here! and then came back to the boat and grilled chicken for our Thanksgiving dinner. Did Skype with our kids and spoke to parents on the phone.
We are progressing in our boat projects. New head and a new hose from the holding tank is installed, mustache and marks on the hull are gone and about half of the sanding of the toe rail is done. Today is an unplanned day off due to it being overcaste and short showers off and on all day.
Paul, Gaynor and Pepper from 'Meridian' were anchored nearby yesterday. It was great seeing them again, we had cocktails on our boat then walked to a nearby restaurant for dinner.
Bill and I have started researching the next 300 miles - basically from here to Key West. We will probably do several off shore days but don't plan on doing any overnight passages. From what we can tell there is an area down the ICW for about 80 miles with 15+ bridges so that is one area we are thinking of avoiding and going offshore. From Miami south there are two routes: 1. Continue down the ICW, which is basically the westerly (Gulf side) of the Keys or 2. Follow the Hawk Channel (mostly a natural trench that runs along the ocean with the Keys on one side and a reef on the other side). There are pluses and minuses for each option. The ICW route has a lot more anchoring options but some very shallow water. The Hawk Channel would be faster with more depth but few good places to anchor for the night but several good spots for us to stop and do some scuba diving. Still have some time to figure it out.
11/21/2010, Indian Harbor Beach, FL
We are at the Telemar Marina in Indian Harbor Beach and will be staying here until approximately December 20th. This will give us some needed time to do some boat projects and a visit back to Minnesota. The marina is within 4 miles of West Marine and only about a mile to a Publix (grocery store), restaurants and the beach. We decided to buy a couple of bikes which will allow us to go a little farther and faster than on foot.
I plan on only doing a weekly update to the blog over the next month since I'm sure no one wants to read about things like replacing the head (toilet) and washing and waxing the hull.
11/16/2010, Palm Coast, FL
It's been a few days since I last updated the blog. After leaving Fernandina we stayed one night in Jacksonville Beach at Beach Marina. The marina was fine, only problem (which is a big drawback) was no potable water available. Next stop for 3 nights was St. Augustine. We picked up a mooring ball (first try too!). The cost of mooring is only $20 per night, much easier on the cruising kitty than staying at a marina.
We both really liked St. Augustine a lot, ranks up there with our top favorite places we have stopped at so far. It was Pirate Days so lots of people dressed up as pirates, we missed the pirate parade which was right before we arrived. We toured the old fort and did a lot of walking around the town. We met Mike and Francie of 'Anan Cara" for a couple of drinks on Saturday. Monday night Paul and Gaynor of 'Meridian' invited us to their boat for cocktails and Paul's Indian Curry.......yummy.
11/11/2010, Fernandina, FL
It looks like we are good to head out again tomorrow morning. After 2 days of having the diesel engine mechanic here it basically ended up being a fuel filter problem. Won't go into a lot of detail but I'll just say we had a discussion concerning the bill and ended up with a compromise on the end price.
As we were waiting for the mechanic to come back today Paul & Gaynor of 'Meridian' pulled up in their dink, great to see them again. They came back in the evening, we ordered pizza and had a good time catching up with them since we last saw them when they were trying to pull us off the sand bar back in South Carolina.
We have decided to find a marina to stay for about a month to do, for us, a major boat project - the head. Plan to replace the head, holding tank and hoses. Hopefully it will take us a lot less than a month but based on pricing it might be cheaper to get a slip for a month than for a week. The other thing we need to look into is a solar system for the boat. Since we plan on heading down to the Keys and anchoring out a lot we need to have an alternative energy source.
Tomorrow night we should be in the Jacksonville area.
We left Hilton Head via the Port Royal Sound and Inlet at around 9:30 am yesterday morning. NOAA weather indicated winds 10-15 from the north (following seas which is good) and 2-3 foot waves. Once we were out into the ocean we were getting wind from the south right into our bow (which is not good). By late afternoon the wind had still not shifted. Lots of other boats thinking as we did - it would be better to go offshore and bypass Georgia based on weather prediction.
We motor sailed (sails up and motor running) most of the day then right after the sun set the engine quit. Checked everything we could think of to figure out the problem, did not overheat, had enough fuel, etc. This was done in 5-8 foot seas and winds 15-20 mph right on our bow. We will call this Type 3 Fun (I'll explain later). So, we lowered the main and had about ½ the genoa (head sail) out so we could maintain our course and keep moving. We spent the entire night trying to stay in the trough between the 5-8 foot waves but still getting tossing around significantly. About once an hour 'Anan Cara' would call us by radio to get our Lat and Lon and course heading so they could monitor us.
We finally made it to the entrance of the St. Mary's River at around 9:00 am this morning. We tried restarting the engine several times during the night but it wouldn't restart. We knew we didn't want to try and sail into the river so we called TowBoat US once we were at the buoyed channel to go into the river. The Coast Guards heard our radio chatter and comes out to baby-sit us until the tow boat arrived. We think they decided to do this since at the same time a Navy nuclear sub was coming out the river right by us and going out to sea.
So, we are now at the Fernandina Harbor Marina waiting on a diesel engine mechanic to arrive to find out what the problem is.
Long story short - Maggie on 'Oh By Joyful' called their experience a few days ago of the rudder cable breaking, going aground and a line getting wrapped around their prop "Type 2 Fun" meaning - not fun while it is happening, only when looking back. So, we decided to call ours "Type 3 Fun" - meaning not fun while happening and doubt we will ever look back and call it fun.
It was so rough out there for about 15 hours that it is the first time both Bill and I chummed the fish (seasick). We are hoping that all our "Type 3 Fun" is behind us and will only have "Type 1 Fun" from here on out.
WELCOME TO FLORIDA!!
11/08/2010, Hilton Heach Island, SC
We stayed an extra day at Wimbee Creek due to thick fog this morning and threat of thunderstorms. Bill is a happy camper; he is fishing and just caught a blue crab. "Sparky" (Bill's nick name for the crab) is now in a bucket in hopes that he will have friends to join him soon. No friends found, Sparky lives! (Bill threw him back).
As we sit here Bill and I are discussing/reflecting on our first 90 days of our adventure. As with most things there are positives and negatives. Biggest negative is missing family; biggest positive is all the new people we have met. There have been good days and bad days. Good days are: not going aground, seeing our first dolphins, visiting new places and all the people who have been so great with their help, guidance, friendship and generosity. Bad days are: going aground, inconsiderate speeding boaters, two people living in a very small space and at times under very stressful situations.
Stayed at the Downtown Marina at Beaufort, SC. Nice town. Marina has a courtesy car so we used it to go to the grocery store. Stocked up on beer and cigarettes.
11/6/10 - 11/8/10
We followed Mike & Francie on 'Anam Cara' to the Skull Creek Marina on Hilton Head Island, SC. Francie found a deal for this marina on Active Captain, pay for one night get the second night free. Francie and Mike invited us to their boat for dinner, great dinner with dessert and a birthday candle for me to blow out. Thanks guys!
Bill & I walked to the Boat House bar and restaurant which is just outside "The Plantation". To leave here and get back they require us to have a pass and go through a guard gate (armed guards). Guess they take their security seriously around here. We watched the last quarter of the Vikings game. Mike joined us for a couple of beers.
Maggie, Chris & Tom on 'Oh Be Joyful' showed up yesterday. They had contacted us when they were outside Beaufort with some mechanical problems so didn't know if we would see them or not. We all got together on 'Anam Cara' to catch up on 'Oh Be Joyful' adventures since we last saw them. Tom (Maggie's cousin) will be leaving them in Savannah to go back to Colorado where he has a job at a ski resort waiting for him. It was great seeing them again.
We have heard from several sources that Georgia has lots of shoaling areas so we have decided we are tired of white knuckle days (stress of not knowing if we will go aground on the next turn), along with the cold weather and will follow 'Anam Cara' and go offshore to avoid the ICW in Georgia and get farther south. It will be an all nighter, about 120 miles, from Hilton Head Island to Fernandina Beach, Florida.
My next blog should be from Florida!