One extreme to the other
02 December 2018
We changed our minds about stopping in St. Augustine as temperatures there looked just as cold as they had been and we just wanted to push south. It's one one of our favorite stops along the ICW and, fortunately, we have spent lots of time there on previous trips.
After years of trying to spot Manatees and only succeeding in seeing one swimming below the surface, I finally saw FIVE in one day. Each one had its head out then dove under revealing its tail. What a thrill!
Even in northern Florida there is significant tide change and shoaling, so we had a few "interesting" challenges. Every day is an adventure. For example, one night we anchored in 14 feet in the Ft. George River where the tide changes 6 feet. We woke up on the bottom and heeling. What a strange perspective to have when getting out of bed! While waiting for the tide to turn and swing us back into deeper water, thunderstorms threatened the area and we noticed an engine oil leak. After waiting until it felt safe to pull up the anchor, we had a short day with little progress.
While our starter battery is new, our house batteries were 5 years old and sat for 2 1/2 years. They got to the point where they would barely take a charge. We had to run our little portable generator for just enough charge to get the anchor up with the windlass.
Between the oil leak and the batteries, our goal now became finding a mechanic near a marina where we could leave the boat for our trip home to Maine for the holidays on December 17th. We were fortunate to get a reservation at the Cocoa Village Marina, a much nicer marina than the one a little south where we'd stayed before, and just as close to the airport. We have a call into the mechanic about the oil leak and Dave has already replaced the batteries (all 300 lbs of them!)
It finally got warm yesterday! Last week we had a wind chill of 36 one day while we were underway, and today the heat index was 92 and we had the air conditioner on. Go figure...