06 December 2018
We coordinated weighing anchors with Nemo at 4:55 a.m. It is dark. We had our radar on and I stood on the bow with a spotlight. A mega yacht left the inlet ahead of us. I focused the light on unlit marks. As we exit the inlet, the marks are lit, so I returned to the cockpit. There is a sailboat following behind us and a pilot boat that flies by us to a ship waiting to enter the inlet. There is a sliver of a crescent moon visible. It is not long before the sun rises. Well, once again the wave height and swells are larger than predicted. I guess we can just always expect that. They got the wind right though. It remains around 12 knots all day. We unfurled the head sail. The swells are bigger and hitting us on our starboard side. The seas are a bit confused. Neither of us feels like eating much so we just had peanut butter crackers for lunch. We have heard a few boats "talking" but we haven't seen any, except one cargo ship, close by. About an hour off of the Little Bahama Banks, we see flying fish. They are fun to watch. Big ones and little ones with their "wings" a blur. It is amazing how far they can fly. Skimming the tops of waves for what looks like thirty feet or so, before diving into a wave. The water here is a deep blue. We go from over 2000 feet up to 200. Then as we can see the lighter blue water, the depths quickly come up to 50...25...and then 15 feet. The water is now a creamy blue green, made more striking by the contrast of the white foam coming from our wake. Before dark I made my way below to make us a sandwich. Soon it is dark and we are navigating by radar again. It is a beautiful evening. The waves settled down once we were behind Grand Bahama Island. Our entertainment for the evening is peering out at the bazillion stars and watching a light show of a storm in the distance. We reach our anchorage for the night at 8:50 p.m. We decided to raft together. After we're secured, everyone is ready for sleep. We bobbed around and the fenders squeaked all night. Usually, someone would make adjustments but we were all too tired to care.
Everyone is top deck by a little after 7 a.m. After coffee and cereal, Don and Judy untie our lines. It is a gorgeous day! The winds are light but we are anxious to get the sails out. We let the main out as soon as we are underway a little after 8a.m. As soon as we make a turn and are on course, we let out the head sail. The sun is hot but the Bahama breeze is nice!
Sailing always brings back fond memories for me. Today I am remembering a good friend who passed away last week. He loved the water. A former life guard on the Jersey Shore, a competitive rower, sailor and a fellow past commodore. He had a real gusto for life. He would have loved this. Many times I wish that I could bring all of my friends with me on this trip! Fair winds my friend, you will be missed by so many.
The winds were light all day, forcing us to motor sail in order to make the best time to Green Turtle Cay. We had been watching some clouds developing and moving closer. As we turned up the channel it started to sprinkle. We were in our slips by 4:15 p.m. The clouds looked threatening but it didn't rain much. After our showers, we had dinner at Green Turtle Club.
We left Green Turtle a little after 9 a.m. It is only about three hours to Treasure Cay. We are trying to get there before a cold front. We are watching approaching clouds. They reach us just as we go through the Whale cut. The Sea of Abaco get too shallow for our boats here, so we have to go through this cut to the Atlantic Ocean around Whale Cay and then back into the Sea of Abaco. The wind and waves picked up just as we went through. After we got around to the other side of the Cay the waters settled down. We were in the marina at Treasure Cay by noon. Nemo and Bay Breezin' are in slips next to each other. The customs and immigration officers met us at Tipsy's bar by the pool. We enjoyed a Sands Pink Radler while we filled out paperwork and answered questions. Now that's the way to clear in! The winds were gusting to 25 in the afternoon as we walked across the street to take in the view of the beach at Coco's. It's still as beautiful as we remembered. We are all happy to call this home for the winter!
02 December 2018
We stayed on a mooring in Vero Beach for one night before moving to Stuart. Just had time for a short visit with Carl's cousin Brenda this time.
We spent a week in Stuart, Florida waiting for a weather window to cross the Gulf Stream. This gave us a chance to do our final provisioning and gave Judy some time with her Mom, Sue. Sue had us all for dinner and to play Mexican train dominoes. She gave us a ride to provision and we had dinner out another night. And of course, we managed to work in a girls day out with lunch and thrift store shopping. While here, Carl found a leak in the water heater. Don helped him install a new one.
We left on Saturday 12/1, to move our boats to Lake Worth to stage for a crossing. There are seven bridges in the thirty miles between Stuart and Palm Beach. It was a long, trying and sometimes frustrating day, timing bridges and talking with bridge tenders. We were all tired when we anchored in Lake Worth. We are anchored near Mar-a-Lago and we can see the golf course. We passed S/V Monarch anchored here at Peanut Island. I heard from Diane before we left Stuart. They just came in at 5:30 a.m. this morning from an offshore passage from Amelia Island. Sunday, we had planned to take a dinghy trip to Peanut Island, but the wind was kicking up. it rained on and off all day. Just when I was enjoying the breeze coming through the hatches, I'd have to close them up every time it started to rain. We prepped for offshore. The skies cleared and there was a rainbow and then a beautiful sunset. I hope this is a good sign. We leave to cross to the Bahamas at 5 a.m. In the morning.
Mermaids and Thanksgiving on the Hook
22 November 2018
Mermaids and Thanksgiving on the hook
It was pouring down rain when we got up. That would not stop Judy and I from taking advantage of our late departure to see the Lightner Museum. The museum is located in the old Alcazar Hotel. As many times as I’ve been here, I’ve never gone through the museum. What an absolute gem! Judy and I just wished that we had more time to linger. The rain had stopped as we left the museum. When we returned to the marina, we just had time to untie the lines and jump on the boats. We are leaving at slack tide, noon. It was a beautiful warm day on the ICW. We made good time and arrived in Marineland at 3:30 p.m. Don and Judy took a walk on the beach. Carl filled the water tanks and I took a nap. We had leftover lasagna on Bay Breezin’. Judy brought me a beautiful hibiscus flower that she picked on their walk. After dinner, Judy and I did laundry and I cooked a turkey breast for our Thanksgiving dinner.
We left Marineland marina at 8:15 a.m. and had another beautiful, warm day for traveling. We made our way through a few bascule bridges. There were more dolphins today. We tied up at the New Smyrna Beach town dock at 3p.m. We all walked to our favorite seafood restaurant. We were disappointed to discover that it had closed, so we made our way into town to find a place to eat. We decided on the Corkscrew Bar and Grille. We sat outside and enjoyed Margaritas and dinner. We turned in early. We have a long day ahead tomorrow.
There were a flock of Ibis perched in our rigging. Carl had to shoo them away. We left the dock in New Smyrna Beach at 7:15 a.m. The water was like glass. It seemed to evaporate into the sky ahead of Nemo. We spotted 3 curvaceous manatees (aka mermaids) before we got to the Haul Over canal. We saw a few more in the canal. We stopped at an anchorage south of Cocoa Beach at 2:50 p.m. We rafted together. The wind picked up and we bounced around before dinner. The clouds have started rolling in. Rain is predicted tonight and tomorrow. At 5 o’clock we pooled our resources and managed to pull together a nice Thanksgiving dinner. We had turkey breast, cornbread dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, yams with marshmallows, collard greens and cranberry sauce. The winds calmed down and the rain missed us. Tonight we are thankful for many things, including these good times that we are sharing with wonderful friends!
“Where The Atlantic Ocean Begins”
19 November 2018
Saturday 11/17-Sunday 11/18
We went to the BBQ at the marina park last night. There was a band playing and many competitors smokin’ meat in their fancy rigs. We enjoyed chicken wings samples and then went back to Bay Breezin’ where we had lasagna and reviewed our plan for departure.
Nemo left for the fuel dock before 7:30a.m. We are way up in a hole with a large motor yacht behind us, a sport fish across from us and a smaller sailboat on the dock crossways in front of us. Slack tide is not for another hour and the water is still swirling around. A dock hand came down to give us a hand. He said “the current is still very strong, wouldn’t we like to wait a little while?” No, we say we are ready to go. He offers several suggestions, but Carl tells him how he will do it. The dock hand pulls us forward and then over as close as he can to the boat on the dock ahead of us and then throws me the bow line as instructed. Then Carl throws the boat in reverse. He backed all the way out and then made a 180. Well done Captain! That dock hand was impressed! After we were fueled up we met Nemo outside of the marina where they were waiting. It was 8:30a.m. It is a gorgeous day. Sunshine with Carolina blue skies and just a few whisps of clouds. The temperatures are in the mid 50s. We motored out the inlet and into the ocean behind Nemo. “Between the Ashley and Cooper rivers where the Atlantic Ocean begins” as Charlestonians say. We are still riding the outgoing tide and making 7+ knots. As we both turn south west, we unfurl our head sails. We were motor sailing between 5 and 6 knots to make the best time. It is 153 miles to Sister’s Creek just outside of Jacksonville. At one time, we were surrounded by dolphins. They swam with us for the longest time. They were jumping out of the water in groups of threes. I saw a spotted dolphin. It looked like it was sparkling in the sun. It was so exciting. I thought that I got a great video of them, only to find out that my phone wasn’t recording when I thought it was. I was so disappointed! Before sunset, I brought up the blankets, pillows, ditch bag and life jackets. The sun set and it was dark at 6 p.m. The waxing gibbous moon was already up. We could see Nemo’s lights off of our starboard side. We kept in touch on the radio through the night. The winds were out of the north west instead of the east that was predicted. The waves that are supposed to be calming down were increasing and the swells were getting bigger. The waves were going against the current. With the waves coming from behind us it made for an uncomfortable ride. Sort of like being tossed around in a washing machine. Side to side, sometimes registering 30 degrees on the inclinometer. I was getting a little green around the gills towards the end of the 30 hour trip. Carl and I took turns at watch and taking naps. We each only got about three hours of sleep. The sun came up from behind a bank of clouds. The clouds eventually burned off. We hadn’t had much to eat. Carl made coffee and it tasted so good. We finally reached the inlet to the St. John’s River. We were on the dock at Sister’s Creek by 3:00p.m. Our friends, Beth and Peter, who live in Jacksonville are coming at 4:00 for cocktails. I quickly changed my clothes that I’ve been in for two days and prepared a few nibbles and uncorked the wine. We had a great time catching up with Beth and Peter and telling them about our offshore experience.
We left Sister’s Creek in the fog this morning at 8:45 a.m. I stood out on the bow looking for fishing boats that are hard to see in the fog. We have our navigation lights and radar on. As we turned off of the St. John’s River onto the ICW there is a thick patch of fog. The fog blends into the water. They are the same misty color. I couldn’t tell where the sky ended and the water began. Just then,a lone dolphin surfaced and spouted off. The fog finally lifted and it was a pretty day. We reached the Bridge of Lions Bridge at St. Augustine for the 2:30 p.m. opening. The Municipal marina is just on the other side. We both fueled up before going into our slips. First things first....we are all ready for a shower. It is rejuvenating! We then walked to a little Polish Greek restaurant for dinner. After we filled up on Hunter’s Stew, kielbasa and pierogies, we strolled through St. Augustine. The Christmas lights are on and it is beautiful. Judy and I pop in and out of a few select shops. Carl pops in a Spanish bakery and out with a few flans for us to share for dessert. There are horse drawn carriages and tour trains with everyone singing Christmas carols. It was a magical evening in St. Augustine!
16 November 2018
The nasty weather has arrived. The temperatures have dropped, the winds have picked up and the waves are washing over the concrete floating docks. Judy and I decided to go back in to Charleston today. We waited to take the noon shuttle, hoping that it would warm up a little. It didn’t. I think it actually got colder in the afternoon. We decided to have lunch first. I suggested one of my favorites, “Magnolias”. It was nice to get in out of the cold and relax a while. I ordered the fried green tomato BLT with melted pimento cheese on corn and jalapeño bread and Judy had the portobello reuben with house brusselskraut with a side of collard greens. It was all delicious! It is a good thing that we are doing a lot of walking with all of this good food we are eating! We then walked down East Bay Street to see the Rainbow Row houses. Admiring more window boxes and peeking into gardens along the way. I could not stop taking pictures! We walked down Church Street and took a tour of the Heyward-Washington House. Built in 1772, it was home to Thomas Hayward, Jr. , a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and was where George Washington stayed during his 1791 visit to the city. The house and gardens were beautiful. We lingered in the gardens and then started to make our way back to Market Street. We had just enough time to browse a few shops before catching the 4:15 shuttle back to the marina. It was a delightful day for us.
We have been here almost a week waiting for a weather window to go offshore. We will give the wind and waves another day to settle down. Hopefully, we will make up some time and get to Florida on Sunday. Today we will get everything ready to leave. There is a big BBQ competition going on here. We have complimentary tickets to attend. We may check it out.
The Judy Tour
14 November 2018
I took a walk this morning while Carl worked on a few projects and Don and Judy took the shuttle in to Charleston. It started to rain so I ducked inside the lobby of the Beach Club. Our slip fees cover the resort amenities. The lobby was warm and inviting. I had a cup of coffee and sat by the fireplace. The rain stopped so I walked around the pool, by the tiki bar and then back to the boat. I lit the oven and mixed up a batter of pumpkin bread. While that cooked we had a bowl of cream of crab soup and grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch. Then it rained buckets. Later that afternoon, we went to Summerville for dinner with Judy’s cousins. Summerville is about 45 minutes from the marina. It was so nice of them to include us and pick us all up. We had a delicious dinner with lots of interesting conversation. They are a military family and have many stories about their adventures. At the end of our evening, we discovered that they like to play dominoes too! They want us to come back through Charleston so we can play dominoes. We just might take them up on that!
The fog rolled in overnight. The birds are grounded on the dock. The weather forecast has a better chance of rain in the afternoon. Judy and I met at the Beach club at 10 o’clock to catch the shuttle to downtown Charleston. Judy had studied her map and had a plan. We enjoyed our walk from Market Street to Broad. Taking in the historical homes, secret gardens, Washington Square Park, churches and my favorite shop at the Historical Foundation. We admired the gorgeous flower filled window boxes and had a delicious lunch at a little French cafe,” Framboise”. We had just enough time to browse the “Market” and buy some pralines, before we caught the shuttle back to the marina. Judy and I had tea by the fire in the lobby and made it back to the boat before the rain started. We shared dinner on Nemo and heard about Carl and Don’s tour of the aircraft carrier, warship and submarine. I’m not sure which of us got more steps in today! We discussed our travel plans and have decided to stay put here the rest of the week to take advantage of an upcoming weather window to go offshore.