We are now in Florida, having arrived at Fort Pierce yesterday evening after a 34 hour run on the outside from Fernandina Beach at the Georgia/Florida border. All the way from south of Cape Hatteras to Fernandina Beach we were forced to enjoy the ICW. The Atlantic of the south eastern states was presenting gale force winds for the last two weeks which had even diehard sailors crowding the ICW and complaining about bad waves and strong winds of 40 knots. Just a few days ago the winds were slacking off and the sea was showing her friendlier side again. From Fort Pierce Diesel Duck moved on this morning to Stuart, where Mack Sails is making us a new mainsail to replace our 7 year old, well weathered one.
Previously I mentioned that we see interesting things along the waterway which you wouldn't come across while driving your car down south. So while we were leisurely motoring along the winding Intracoastal Waterway through North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia we just had to chuckle to ourselves near Savannah, Georgia. There were many ducks sitting along the sides of the waterway. Usually waterfowl takes off when we come close, but these did not. Upon closer inspection through my binoculars I discovered that these specimens were decoys. And then I detected the hunters in their camouflaged boats waiting for the real ducks to arrive. But the only duck to appear was our "Diesel Duck"! Thanks God the hunters kept their guns on safety and did not pepper us!
We have seen many cruise ships over the years, but not during our trips on the ICW. In Charleston, SC, we spotted the "Independence" a smaller cruise ship than most of her sister ships and she was heading for the ICW. A couple of days later, we noticed her again sitting under anchor off the ICW and then she seemed to follow us around until she passed us just before Brunswick, Georgia. I took pictures of her and several passengers took pictures of Diesel Duck while we waved to each other. Then two days later, while we were swinging on a mooring ball from the marina in Fernandina Beach, the "Independence" docked at the marina opposite us to disembark guests and take on new passengers. This ship makes regular return trips on the ICW between Jacksonville, FL and Charleston, SC . Come to think of it, we should not ever complain again that the ICW is a tedious way to travel while the" Independence" has paying guests to do just that.
Fernandina Beach is a wonderful tourist town teeming with nice shops and restaurants. The reason we went there was two of our dearest friends, Linda and Ed, were picking us up to take us to their lovely home in Jacksonville, FL, where they showed us around the area. Back in 2006 we had met for the first time in Georgetown, Bahamas where "Dreamtime" and "Diesel Duck" shared the same anchorage. Their boat is still in the Caribbean while they came home for the holidays. It was good to catch up on all the happenings. Let's do it more often.