05/15/2013, North Carolina
We thought the ICW (Intercoastal Waterways) would just be boring, but not so, it is hard work. First we dealt with 65 knot winds in the squall and last night we dragged anchor. We had worried about the set that afternoon, but the mud makes for poor sets. The anchorage protected us from the North, the wind blowing at the moment, and given time the anchor would settle deeper in the mud. Just after dark the wind shifted from the South and perked up to 15 knots; so much for our settled anchor. Dave started to worry and set the anchor alarm, which went off two minutes later. I was up and hauling in the anchor. Kara was up asking what she could do to help. Seeing nothing to do she went to her bed to wait for the excitement to pass. Anchor up, now we just had to thread our way past the crab pots we had avoided that afternoon. They were hard to see in daylight - low in the water and painted black, but almost impossible at night. I kept the flashlight pointed in front of us, basically sure of 10 feet of clear water. I don't know how we missed them, but we did. Next it was the frantic search for safe moorage for the night. We could head to a dock at Coijack, but had 15 miles of the twistyest, turniest course. There was an anchorage across the ICW, but it had a hook, and few notes from Active Captain (notes from cruisers about the best and the worst you can find), but a few miles more would take us to Buck Island and two anchorages. The first gave us slightly better protection than where we just left, but we missed the turn. We were trying to find a tug and barge that was working its way down the waterway. The next had two anchor lights that were not bobbing around. Once again I found 10 feet of clear water and we worked our way into the deep water (seven feet this time.) The wind was now 10, and good protection from the SW and the anchor dug in well, obviously this was the place to stop for the night. I went to tell Kara that all was well, but she was asleep, the first crisis I've known her to handle by sleeping.
Happy Birthday KaraAnn
05/15/2013, North Carolina
We stayed at Deep Point for two days - the Anniversary- Birthday days, because yet another Cold Front would be coming through with winds from the NE. This was the best anchorage until the Chesapeake for those winds, so we sat. This ICW dimple does not have much to offer, since it is surrounded by marsh. No sign of humankind, even in the airways - no cell coverage. Dave and I had a fine 12th anniversary. Kara made a banner for us, and I cooked special food. I made my first successful pie crust, and we enjoyed a great apple-cherry pie. The wind was milder than expected, but we still sat. Kara's birthday had a bit more fanfare. I had used my time in Florida and Charleston to find some presents of interest. Kara planned the meals - one of them even a little healthy - and designed the cake. Kara spent the day playing and watching movies. It was a good day. We had promised Kara that we would not transit on her birthday. A promise we could keep. Last year Kara wished she could celebrate her birthday in the states, but I'm not sure that this lived up to her anticipation.
ICW - Intercoastal WaterwaysAnn
05/15/2013, North Carolina
The thousand miles from the tip of Florida to Sag Harbor, for us, includes 200 miles of the ICW. We could have picked up the channel in the Keys, but we would have hit on both end - the keel in the mud and the mast on some bridges. We also knew it would involve lots and lots of motoring. The ICW is part natural inland waters, and part canal dug in the 1930's to create a water highway between the Chesapeake and Southern Florida. We opted to sail off-shore, rather than motor inland. The final 200 miles avoids Cape Hatteras, for those on the West coast this is the Cape Mendacino of the mid-Atlantic states, for those on the East Coast it is the widow-maker of a coast. Dave and I have motored around Mendacina twice, but with the weather we have been having, we decided to play it safe. Anyway, we have heard about the beauty of the ICW. It is beautiful, in a low country kind of way, but the Inside Passage in Canada is majestic. One thing the ICW has stunning sunsets and. Our first day up the ICW was as expected, seven hours of motoring. We were able to motor sail the last hour, ya hoo. We pulled off and anchored in Goose Creek. We found the deep spot - eight feet and set the hook. Without a tidal drop or lift we were fine for the night. Dave and I are learning new anchoring skills to find a spot in this thin stuff. We can't motor around to check all the depths, because at six feet we are aground, so we trust the charts - not something we ever did in Central America. We set out 10:1 chain, opposed to our old 5:1, and worry. You never know when soft mud will liquefy and off you go. We were protected from the wind, so our worry was unnecessary. Day two dawned with cherry red stripes fading to coral wisps, and the orange orb rising quickly. The 15 knots from last night was still with us, and we were leaving a man-made cut for an open bay. Time to set the chute! As my mother would say "we had a glorious sail" for half of our daily passage of 42 miles. Then we hit Alligator cut and were able to motor sail with the genoa. I felt like we stole a day of glee from in our itinerary. The transition from Alligator Cut to Alligator River is a very small bay. We passed a boat motoring into the 15 knot wind, and smirked that we were in shorts, but they had full foulies. Dave and I were sitting in the cockpit planning our sun shower as soon as we anchored, when the wind suddenly gusted to 20 knots, and didn't drop. We had 1.5 miles to the anchorage, and decided to furl the genoa. That is when I looked back to see the huge, black thunderstorm bearing down on us. I hurled things down below, like the camera, clothes and books, I even grabbed a foulie jacket for myself (I offered one to Dave, but he declined) before the full brunt hit. Dave kept aiming for the anchorage, and I watched anometer climb as the rain came down in streams. 30 knots, fine, 45 knots, I've seen that before but I don't like it, 50 knots, we should peak soon, 55 knots, this first blow only lasts a few minutes. Visibility was the limit of our boat - just rain behind us, and nothing past the bow. The crack of lightning and the drum of thunder, simultaneous, 58 knots, it should go down now, the waves behind us were building, and we were in 15 feet of water. 62 knots, is this like the micro burst in El Salvador? 65.8 knots, hurricane force. Then 63 knots, it is finally going in the right direction. Where will it settle, please drop below 50, yes we have 45 knots. The lightning didn't expand our visibility; the rain was a curtain around us. 35 knots and holding, we passed the anchorage, and the landscape opened before us - not a good thing, because we wouldn't have any wind or wave break, and we also wouldn't have deep water. I pulled a cushion in front of the companionway to keep some of the rain from blowing down the steps. Visibility is better, we can see a power boat, just off the ICW, they must have known we had no place to go, and got out of our way. Thank you. Dave sent me down below to find another anchorage, but I couldn't get the computer to recognized the GPS, and before the river delta there were only two anchorages, really dimples off the ICW, exposed to the SW storm. I don't want to anchor in 35 knots, especially at Deep Point, which sports 9 feet of water (misnamed in my book.) I'm blinded by another crack of lightning, but I don't hear the thunder for half a second. It is passing. We turn around and head for Deep Point, by the time we have the hook down it is blowing a mere 23 knots. Where was Miss Kara during all this drama? Our clever girl found her own emergency to handle. She saw the leak over our bed turn from a drip to a stream. She grabbed some towels and protected our bed. Thank you. I found why I couldn't get the computer-GPS connection. I forgot to turn on the back-up GPS, the one connected to the computer - oops. Dave and I stripped off our soaking clothes, and lamented the loss of the sun shower. Kara felt that the cold rain was an adequate replacement for the sun shower. Too bad I hadn't grabbed the shampoo.
The Cities of St. Augustine and CharletonKara
05/15/2013, Florida and S. Carolina
We are in St. Augustine because of weather. Mom remembers a big slide that is not here anymore. The city is really amazing so we are glad we are staying. There are two different tours: The Red Train Tour and the Old Towne Trolley. We also went on a tour of a chocolate factory and we went on a tour of Castillo de San Marcos. Did you know that St. Augustine is the oldest city in the U.S.A.? Did you know that Castillo de San Marcos is the oldest fort in the U.S.A.? The oldest house is not the oldest house built in the U.S.A. The oldest houses built were burned down by pirates. The oldest house is called the oldest house because the old thing in it.
Friends, National Parks, Shopping and Cold FrontsAnn
05/01/2013, St Augustine
I know it is time to update the blog when I start getting emails asking if we are still sailing. We have been in Florida for the last six weeks, and every day seems to rush past. The title is a list of what has affected our time in the Sunshine State. After the Dry Tortugas we sailed over night to Key West, where we found a soaking wet V-berth, and once again I was denied access to my bed. We waited out a weather system in Key West, visiting the city. It was our first chance to buy groceries, we're excited to see fresh milk and a huge variety of cheeses. This was a small, family-owned store, just wait until we reach a supermarket.
05/01/2013, Marathon, Florida
I don't think I should obsess about my bed as much as I do. I sleep well in my bed, and I feel excited when I get into it. I've been thinking about my bed, because I couldn't sleep in it for three days, and I missed it.
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