Mar-a-Lago: Heading South for another great adventure!

Tues, May 2 to Thurs, May 4 - at St Augustine Marine Center

22 May 2017
Hot, hot, hot, very humid weather
Wed, May 3 - At noon Brian returned the a/c rental car, while I did chores in the 'hot as an oven' cabin...so stifling hot that re-packaging the meats and fish for the freezer had to be done in a hurry, otherwise it might have started cooking on the counter! But by the end of the second day, all of the boat chores were checked off...Brian worked hard for two days in the blazing sun and oppressive heat, to check off that he'd: scraped/cleaned barnacles off prop, shaft, both bow thruster props, and speed paddlewheel.
And he cleaned & waxed hull and waterline...the boat looked great!

We were very happy with the work done by the St Augustine Marine Center. We were impressed with Service Manager Mark and his staff, and the care they took with hauling and moving our boat, and with the removal and replacement of our cutlass bearing. Mark came by several times to check on the status of the work being done, and all work was completed in a professional, timely manner. There were no surprises with our invoice, except that the labour and parts were slightly less than quoted! We would certainly recommend the St. Augustine Marine Center to boaters needing service or repairs to their vessel...we were very pleased with their work!

After finishing all our work at 5:00, we dashed to the showers, changed and began the long walk into town. The late day sun was really intense as we peered down side streets to see if they offered any shade to walk under. We met Craig & Donna at Pizzalleys, and revelled in the a/c of the Chianti Room. The Greek pizza was as delicious as ever, and the chianti and beer were great too! At sunset, our walk back to the Marine Center was much more pleasant...but our oven-like boat cabin was quite oppressive, but we were too tired to care and managed to sleep.

Tues, May 2 to Thurs, May 4 - to St Augustine Marine Center

22 May 2017
Hot, hot, hot, very humid & very windy.
Tues, May 2 - to St Augustine Marine Center

Trip today: 1 mile in 45 minutes

We were up early to move Mar-a-Lago just one mile downriver to the St Augustine Marine Center. We took advantage of Craig and low slack tide to do this, and while the guys moved the boat, I drove the rental car around to meet them. The Marine Center staff gently guided Mar-a-Lago into the travel-lift slings and carefully lifted her out, gave her bottom a thorough power wash, then maneuvered her into the work area and set the jack stands, all in about an hour.

It was shaping up to be an incredibly hot day...relentless sun shining onto the boat, with no shade to escape. Inside the boat, it was warming up like an oven, and even with our fans working, it was most unpleasant in the cabin! And now the work began...the staff removed Mar-a-Lago's prop, cutlass bearing & what remained of the zincs. Brian began his 'to do' list of boat chores, first removing the two bow barnacle encrusted thruster props...no wonder the thruster wasn't working efficiently! I was lucky enough to begin working through the provisioning list, which meant driving around with the car's a/c on full, while shopping for supplies and food for the next couple of months.

Mon, May 1 - at River's Edge marina, St Augustine

15 May 2017
Sat, April 29 - Toronto to Columbia, SC
Trip today: 851 miles in 13 hours

Sun, April 30 - to River's Edge marina, St Augustine
Trip today: 356 miles in 9 hours (incl. shopping stop)

It was a fast & uneventful two day drive back to St Augustine. We stopped at Costco in Jacksonville, where Brian was very disappointed they no longer made his favourite Key Lime pie. But...he quickly cheered up when he saw they had Yeungling! At 4:30 we finally arrived back at Mar-a-Lago, where Prudence had kept watch in our absence. After unloading the car & getting organized on the boat, we met Donna & Craig at Hurricane Patty's for a reunion dinner. There was a lot to catch up with since we saw them last in November...news of their winter activities and of other cruisers we know who spent the winter in Marathon.

Mon, May 1 - at River's Edge marina
This morning we met the Mighty Fine crew and walked to Theo's Restaurant for a hearty and delicious breakfast. Afterwards we piled into the rental car to do errands...post office, Harbor Freight, and groceries. We then spent the remainder of the day getting ready for tomorrow's early haulout, and doing a major boat and canvas wash, filling water tanks, and checking that all systems were operating perfectly for the next leg of the trip. After working so hard in the blazing hot sun, we were exhausted...but did manage to make it to Hurricane Patty's for a quick dinner before bed.

Tues, March 28 - Tues, May 2- at River's Edge Marina

14 May 2017
We were up early to begin prepping Mar-a-Lago for her long stay at River's Edge. Last April we left her here for ten days, this year we are leaving her for 5 weeks, including the month of April. Since we also 'abandoned ship' for a month in December, we have the 'to do' list perfected...but it still took most of Tuesday and Wednesday to get everything completed & checked off our list.

But all was not work...on Tuesday evening we joined our Toronto friends for a last dinner. We walked with Patrick & Di into the historic district, to meet the rest of the QCYC contingent at Pizzalleys...David & Linda, and David & Nancy who both rented condos here in St A for the winter. Tomorrow morning we were all heading off in different directions...three couples were driving north, and the Resolute V crew was moving their boat to the St Augustine Marine Center to be hauled out. We all enjoyed happy hour and our meals, and it certainly was fun to see everyone again!

Early Wednesday afternoon we picked up our rental car, and that made doing errands a lot easier. Since doing this long distance cruising, we've found it much easier to rent a car to drive home than book flights that may have to be changed last minute because we haven't ended up where/when we planned. Also, because rental cars from the US cannot be returned in Canada, we simply rent the car for the month, drive it around when we are home, and then return it when we are back at the boat. The bonus is there is no worry about luggage...with the car we take as much stuff home with us as we want (even laundry) and the same with the return trip...very civilized we think!

On Thursday, March 30 we said good-bye to Patrick & Di, then made a quick stop at our favourite St Augustine cafe, 'Everything Bagel' where they make the best New York style bagels. We got a couple toasted with delicious cream cheese to go, and half a dozen bagels to take home with us, and off we went heading north on 1-95. We took the mountain route along I-79 & I-77, exchanged texts with Linda & David who were following the same route, and stopped overnight at Oak Hill. We made good time the next day, and to avoid Friday night rush hour at the border, we decided to delay a couple of hours to stop & shop:). Friday evening we arrived home safely and it was great to be back in town!

Mon, March 27 - dinner at Hurricane Patty's

14 May 2017
Once settled, we headed to the onsite restaurant, Hurricane Patty's for Happy Hour and dinner with Patrick & Di, who are aboard their sailboat Resolute V. They have spent the last several winters aboard in the Bahamas, and are now prepping the boat to be trucked back to Toronto. When Prudence heard about their plan, she said "Hmmm, that sounds like such a civilized way to get the boat back home, rather than make the long, slow 1500 mile motor trip...that would make me happy!" She thought for a moment, then added, "Well, actually I'd really like to make the trip back to Annapolis, stay for a week and truck the boat back from there." Prudence did have a point...she's already made this trip 4 times, and her bucket list does not include doing "those Erie and Oswego locks" for a fifth time!

Mon, March 27 - to St Augustine, River's Edge Marina

13 May 2017
Trip today: 50 miles in 7 hours

Another beautiful sunny day! We were on our way by 9:00, first passing the remnants of the demolished Daytona Beach Memorial bridge, then under the city's three remaining bridges, all 65'. There was very little traffic on the ICW, a pleasure to travel compared to the past two days of busy weekend boaters. At 12:40 we pulled into Palm Coast marina to fuel up...another efficient, fast fill on an easy on/off dock. As we reached the Matanzas Inlet area, we were pleased to see a large dredging operation, involving 3 rigs. We were relieved to pass through the newly dredged area with lots of deep water, and waved to the crew of the nearest rig, aptly name 'Boring Queen'!

At 3:30 we turned into the San Sebastian River and made our way back to River's Edge Marina...our sixth stop at this great little marina! We were met at the face dock by Marina Manager Paul, and our Toronto friends Patrick & Diana.
Vessel Name: Mar-a-Lago
Vessel Make/Model: Catalina 42 MkII #947
Hailing Port: Toronto, Ontario, Canada. sv.mar.a.lago@gmail.com
Crew: Brian & Jane Wilson
About: Email: sv.mar.a.lago@gmail.com
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