“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!