Finally warming up
11/13/2008, Fort Pierce, FL
11/07/2008, Cumberland Island, FL
November 10th, Monday .... Ft. Pierce, Florida
I slept like a log and was back in true form by 7:30 am. Kathy decided that we were going to do nothing today and for the most part that's what happened. I read a book that "Veranda" had slid our way last summer. I also logged into Cruiseheimers again today but didn't seem to have as good a signal as yesterday. Propagation was not so good but I am not as sure that we have fixed the problem. I worked on the ground plane a little, attaching our foil ground to the dynaplate (I know I've lost a few of you...sorry) and hope to improve on our transmissions. Time will tell if we are making progress.
Tomorrow we will move a couple of hours north to Vero Beach for a few weeks of boat work, bus rides, provisioning, and visiting friends before moving toward the Bahamas again.
November 8 & 9th.... Cumberland Island, GA to Fort Pierce, FL
Sapphire and Fine Lion were underway at daylight, which these days is about 6:15, and made our way out of the Fernandina Inlet. We had wind enough for sailing for a few hours but all too soon were forced to motor sail as it clocked to the north. Once again the seas were very moderate with waves in the 2 foot range.
We set a way point off Cape Canaveral 150 miles away and got out our books.
As a few of you are aware, our new SSB radio has never really worked as it should. One of my tasks in the next month here in the States is to get it working up to speed. We have been able to receive, but when transmitting we've always had a very week signal forcing others to relay messages for us.
One of the possible problem areas is the connection between the antenna and the tuner which is on the deck and in the weather. On our trip down from Charleston the water was so quiet that I could work on deck and spent some time tearing apart that connection. Our antenna is actually inside a line which is stretched to the top of our mast using a spare halyard. The core of a ½ inch braided rope was removed and the antenna wire inserted. The connection at the base of the rope is made by a small plug which is then slid into the rope.
To check things out I had to open a spot in the braided line and work the plug back through. In the process, the end of the plug attached to the antenna came off. After further investigation it was apparent that the plug had never been properly attached. It had been stuck on but someone failed to crimp the plug to the wire.
It took about 10 minutes to fix the problem and get the plug inserted back in the braided line.
To test the transmission side of the radio we had to wait until 8:30 to log into Cruiseheimers which is a loosely knit group of cruisers who keep track of each other via SSB or Ham. I went down and to the Nav station, dialed in the right frequency, and when they got the section asking for vessels underway, logged in without a problem.
Maybe we have things right. A few more tests and we'll know for sure.
Our afternoon was spent listening to the Michigan State Football game and then the Iowa Penn State game. Iowa picked the wrong day for us to pull an upset out of their collective butts... but even at 9 and 3 the Spartans should go to a real bowl game.
The moon was out during the night which is always nice... even though it makes things harder to see. As we approached Cape Canaveral I came on watch after resting for a few hours to see two lights quite close on our starboard side. Kathy didn't know if they were moving or anchored but seemed to be keeping their distance.
As the hours went by and the two light grew closer, I realized that we were not looking at ships at sea but at launch pads on shore.
Before daylight, rounding the Cape, the wind picked up from the north and we were out far enough that the Gulf Stream was affecting us as well. The opposing forces of north bound current and south bound wind make the seas pile up into square choppy waves of considerable height and for a few hours we were in the middle of things. As soon as we rounded the Cape and got out of the edge of the Gulf Stream, the seas calmed down although they still rolled us around all the way to Fort Pierce 56 miles further down the road.
We arrived and were anchored in Fort Pierce at about 2 pm. after a 32 hour trip.
"Fine Lion" went to shore to scout out possible diner sites... but their report was not exciting so we decided to whip up some collective hors d'oevres and call it good. We are heading north to Vero Beach from here while they push on to Bahamas. Steve and Kim have been great folks to travel with and we look forward to finding them again in the winter.
November 6th, Thursday Cumberland Island, GA
Happy Birthday Debbie!
We left Charleston shortly after 6 a.m. and headed for Florida where we hope it will be warmer. This has been a chilly year. We sailed nicely for about four hours and then the wind died. We actually had anticipated motoring all the way, so this was a pleasant surprise. The rest of the way was flat and easy. We arrived in Fernandina about 7 a.m. for fuel and were anchored at Cumberland Island by 9:30.
We took showers and Mike tried to sleep, as he did not really sleep last night. He had opportunities, just couldn't sleep. I don't think he slept today either, so I finally did the dishes and we got the dinghy down, put the motor on and went to pick up Kim and Steve for some exploring of the park.
We walked across the island through the live oaks with the beautiful hanging Spanish moss, to the ocean side and walked on the beach. It was a warm, sunny day for a change and people were on the beach enjoying the sunshine. We saw lots of shells and I am proud to say I did not pick up one. We have too many shells on the boat already.
We went for a dinghy ride along the side of the island after our hike and then invited Steve and Kim for dinner. We had Steve's fabulous steak tartar, Kim's wonderful salad and Mike's fabulous ribs. We had a nice time and again ended the evening early as we are all tired and are leaving for Fort Pierce at first light tomorrow-a 30-some hour trip. Then Mike and I will rest in Vero Beach, FL for almost a month. Whew-this has been a quick trip.
And yes, we know there's a hurricane out there. We are big weather-watchers.
Mike and Kathy
11/07/2008, Charleston, SC
November 3rd, Monday Charleston, SC
Our computer doesn't seem to want to talk in the correct tone of voice to allow us to download the software necessary to run our XM radio. It is not a problem at this point but basketball season is rapidly approaching and things need to be organized. Not only that, but the Penn State football game may be one that needs our attention.
The tides here in the Ashley River are of note, luckily the holding seems to be great so even though there are gale warnings on the Ocean, we are comfortable here. We went to shore this afternoon and walked the streets of old Charleston. I had some happy-hour oysters at the "Noisy Oyster" before stopping at the grocery and heading back to the boat with only one pit stop.... at "Fine Lion" who has a slip at the City Marina.
It looks like weather will keep us here until Thursday. The low pressure system that is developing now will be gone by Wednesday but the seas will need a least a day to calm down before we head out again.
Nothing much is new with us ... there are friends here and we always have boat projects to do if we can't go ashore.
November 4th, Tuesday Charleston SC
With the current and wind I decided to not risk taking "Sapphire" over to the Megadock for fuel. Instead, I emptied our jerry cans and loaded them in the dinghy. Two trips would top off our tank with 16 gallons in reserve.
As I was about to leave Dave from "Fawkes" called asking for assistance bleeding his fuel line. He had replaced a filter and followed the directions for removing air from the lines but his engine refused to start. The system had return lines from both the high pressure pump and the injectors. (Maybe they all do?) Anyway once we figured out what was going on, we bled the system on the low pressure side of the fuel pump and then each of the injectors. The engine started on cylinder #3.
I was off for the fuel dock and picked up 16 gallons at under $3 for the second time in a month. I off-loaded that load and was back for more in about an hour. By then is was time to do something so we went to shore with the notion of walking into town. But as we approach shore it started to drizzle so we stopped at "Fine Lion" and hung out with them instead. We made plans to meet back there at 5:30 to take the Marina Shuttle into town for dinner.
We ended up at a Italian place called Mercato and had a wonderful meal. Even on a cool, cloudy, weekday night, downtown Charleston was hopping. We did a little shopping before calling a cab for a ride back to the marina.
The weather forecast calls for calming seas on Thursday so we are planning to take another overnight jaunt out in the Ocean and end up somewhere in northern Florida.
November 5th, Wednesday Charleston, SC
Happy Birthday Dave!
Mike cooked grits with cheese and poached eggs on top for breakfast. When in the south. . . . (it was really good). It was a cloudy, drizzly day so we packed up the laundry and took it to shore. Mike took the XM tuner to "Fine Lion" where he was going to work on it with Steve. After laundry and a successful download of the XM stuff, we headed back to the boat for lunch and readying the boat for another offshore trip tomorrow.
"Perseverence 2" drove by on their way to a slip at the Megadock and we decided to meet at the restaurant on shore at 5. "Estelle" also drove by to say Hi on their way to the dock. It's good to see old friends.
Mike got the radio put back together-everything works and the boat looks much better after having had the stereo torn apart for nearly a month. All neat and tidy. By the time all that was done, it was time to head back to shore.
We saw "Inspiration" and visited with them for a while. Then went with them to "Persevence 2" and headed for the restaurant to meet up with "Fine Lion". We had a nice time and headed back to the boats fairly early as we and "Fine Lion" had plans to leave at first light to head for Fernandina Beach. Our plans are to get fuel in Fernandina Beach, FL, then drive up to Cumberland Island, GA to explore the National Park and anchor there.