05/20/2008, Fernandina Beach, Florida
May 20th.. Fernandina Beach
We will just keep patching the dinghy with duct tape and 5200 and see what happens!
We are thinking we will head out in the morning for Charleston which will be a two day-one night trip. So if you don't hear from us tomorrow- you know why.
The dinghy still was leaking this morning so I worked on it some more. Kathy went to town with Jim, Nancy and Beth (who still had a car, because you do need a car in this town) to run some errands and fax some insurance info. On her return we checked the dinghy again and ....surprise surprise, it was still leaking.
So.... I ripped off yesterdays patch with the pliers and started all over with better glue and a more professional attitude. It took a while, but before too long we had a new patch that at least looked better.
I called Jim (Solitaire) and begged him to take me ashore to top off our fuel tank before our planned departure tomorrow morning... He was there in a short time even though he knew that it was going to be a salty ride over and back.
A little later they... Jim and Nancy, came over for drinks and a semi- good game of reading trivial pursuit cards.
We bid farewell to "Madcap" who are here for a few days to complete some electrical work and hauled in one of our two anchors .... (which was easier said than done) before we relaxed with some garlic sautéed shrimp and long-grained and wild rice for dinner.
May 19...Fernandina Beach.
Jim (Madcap) picked us up around 9:30 to taxi us into shore to locate some glue to attempt to put our dinghy back in one piece. After four days on the boat it was nice to walk around a little. Jim and Beth had a rental car and were kind enough to run us around town most of the morning.
On our return, we started on our repair project. First, Kathy sewed that tear together and then I cut out the patch. After cleaning and applying the glue ....we waited for the required two hours to check.
With dish soap and a spray bottle I checked the patch and found one set of small bubbles. The problem was that the tear ran right up to a seam. I cut some small right angled pieces of fabric to glue against the old patch and seam. Once in place, I added a third patch over the junction of the first two.
We worked on some other boat chores and in the afternoon and made plans for dinner with "Solitaire" who had just arrived in the anchorage, and "Madcap" who knew of a good Mexican Restaurant.
After a great meal, Jim and Nancy were kind enough to haul us back to "Sapphire." It was a great night with wonderful friends.
Sunrise at Pine Island
05/20/2008, Vero Beach to Fernandina, Florida
There were about five boats in the Pine Island anchorage and the current was weird enough to make us up anchor and move a little forward to avoid a small boat behind us that had about 300 feet of rode. We left about 7 am and made good time with the current for a while but what goes around comes around and before long we were slogging into the oncoming tide. Kathy and I took turns at the helm most of the day .
"Madcap" called us around noon with an invitation to some mutual friends Steve and Sandy, who live in the area.
We were prepared for difficulties around the Nassau Sound and the St. John's River but slid through without a problem. Our only real entertainment came just south of Fernandina when we hit bottom ...bump...(pause) bump bump...(pause) bump bump bump. We were traveling at 8 knots and took a quick a turn to the starboard which luckily found us some deeper water. There were no moorings available in the harbor so we got an anchor down ...just before a storm.
It is about 7pm currently and the wind has blown 25 knots since we arrived. I had the bright idea of deploying a secondary anchor... (the Dan anchor) and everything was fine until I tossed it out of the dinghy. At that very moment the dinghy hit a wave and one of the flukes punctured a dinghy tube on it's way down.
So...I was 40 yards from the boat with a one tube dinghy.... sinking fast with lightening in the near distance and the wind approaching 30. My heart was pumping faster than normal as I headed back to the mother ship. The wind made it impossible for me to tell Kathy that I was in trouble as I slid side ways to the Sapphire's stern to attach to the davits.
I was able to attach the dinghy to the davit while Kathy attempted to hold both me, the dinghy and the motor above water. It took a minute... but I was able to lift myself out of the sinking dinghy and get a few lines on before the motor took it down.
After a deep breath... we let the thunderstorm pass while contemplating what the heck to do next.
After a while... and some food, a plan was in place. We hoisted the motor onto its mount on the stern rail. Then we attached two lines to the deflated side of the dinghy to be able to hold it above water as we walked it to the bow of the boat. Once there we attached a halyard and Kathy cranked away as I guided the sad remains up and over the lifelines and onto the fore deck.
After lashing it in place we relaxed a minute and watched the boats dance around the anchorage...the current pushing one way and the wind the opposite.
We spoke with "Madcap" and were really bummed that we had to send our regrets to Steve and Sandy but the weather was weird and we decided to stay aboard for the evening. We watched a movie, had popcorn and listened to the wind howl. At about 10 or 11 pm things settled down and we got a good night's sleep.
The anchor was up by 6:45 and would have been sooner but for the mud. I had forgotten about the greasy, slimy mud that is the norm for the eastern seaboard. The day was cloudy ... nice for a change, and we made good time north although the scenery was monotonous. We passed St. Augustine and anchored in small ox-bow called Pine Island.
The one note-worthy aspect of the afternoon was that we saw a ray with a wing spay of about 3 feet jump at least that high into the air just in front of us. For some reason Kathy and I were looking at the exact spot on the water when it took off.
May 16... Addison Point Bridge to Daytona
The challenge today was the Ponce Inlet which shoals into the ICW and was a problem for us last Fall. Today though it was easy. The whole area had been dredged, in fact the dredge was still there working its was down stream. We chatted with the dredge operator on the radio and passed without incident.
We did see a manatee and many dalphins. But for the most part it was a motor voyage through Florida estates.
While checking the engine mid-morning I noticed that our regulator was not working which meant that our alternator was not generating any electricity. When we arrived in Dayton and let the engine compartment cool for a while, I started tracing wires and in no time found one that was bad. In twenty minutes everything was back to normal... for the moment. We need to get an early start tomorrow because one of the bridges in Daytona closes at 7:45 for the morning rush.
View from the anchorage-they're not all pretty
05/16/2008, Addison Point, Florida
May 15th... Vero Beach to Addison Point Bridge
We left Vero a little before 7am and had an uneventful day on the ICW. There was a good breeze from the SW so we made good time motorsailing and averaged about 6.5 kts per hour for the day. We have divided the trip to Fernandina (where we hope to go out into the Atlantic) into four segments of approximately 50 miles a day.
Addison Point bridge is the most direct route from the mainland to the Space Center and is quite busy. The anchorage is ok but the wind piped up to 30 kts during the night so I didn't sleep much until it dropped back under 20kts around 2am. For a while during those hours as the wind shifted from the SE through the S to a little west of south, there was once again smoke in the air. There is a lot of smoke these days here in Florida and although we're not near the fires, just about everyone gets a good dose of smoke when the wind clocks.