Waiting for Weather
07 March 2011 | Brunswick, GA
Not good for passage to FL
I had hoped to have this update a week ago and with us in Florida but then Bill got a whopper of a cold and, as with everything on the boat, he “shared” it with me. That meant we put off heading out by over a week. Then I had hoped to be making this update today from Florida but a very short weather window closed. We decided that 10 hours going south with 3’ – 5’ seas out of the east giving a very rolly ride was not what we wanted to do. And the only way to get any relief would be to head into the seas. Not fun. As Bill described it to my brother, “ It is like driving to Grandmother’s house at 8 MPH and having to drive not on the road but rather in the ditch – up one side then down and up the other side and then down and back up first side again – and having it take 10 hours to do it. You better really want to see Grandmother to do that.” Well, we didn’t want to get to Mayport, FL bad enough to do that. So we are still in Brunswick. BUT the weather is looking good for Fri/Sat/Sun so we should find a slot there to make the passage.
What have we been doing in Brunswick the last couple of months? Basically living in our home, maintaining it, training our pet, spending times with old friends and meeting people. Just doing normal things one does in life.
Bill and I , especially Bill, have had plenty of time to work on the boat – the two winches have been replaced and are in fine working order, there is red rope light now mounted and working in the forepeak, a new Y-valve (the handle broke off the other one) is installed for the head switch between dumping over board or using the tank, most of the stainless on deck has been cleaned and treated with Wichinox (passivates it to keep it from rusting – yes, SS will rust in a salt environment if it isn’t treated), the fresh water pressure pump has been replaced (the accumulator tank on the other sprang a leak so the new one is more modern and doesn’t need a tank), the reefer and freezer have both been defrosted, the stores have been cycled through finally (no more things in stores which were bought in MN.), many of the bins have been cleaned out and the contents restowed (minus things that after a year could be removed from the boat because of lack of need or usage), the zinc anode in the Cummins diesel has been replaced and screens for the hatches are even now being made (gnats and such have made it very clear to us that we need them and soon). Bill did most of the work with both me and Spanker assisting except for the work in the head. Bill hates plumbing any way and he wasn’t at all excited about having to work with the hoses and valve for the head so we had Wayne from the marina come over and spend an hour doing that one. I have taken care of the galley and bin cleaning and, of course, figuring out reasonable meals to prepare with the stores we had. Luckily, Marba and I had shopped well and there weren’t any weird meals put together. We had the bottom scraped by Lee the Dive Guy who also replaced the zinc anode on the propellor. And we moved over to number two docks after a "trip" to the fuel/pumpout dock. So the view from the cockpit did change - a little.
We took a one day road trip to Ocala, FL to see Joel and Michelle Towner. Joel is a dear old friend and White Bear Lake/Lake Superior sailor from years ago while Michelle is now a new dear friend. We took Spanker with us and she is a great traveler. Thank goodness since we will be heading back to MN this summer for a visit to see family, friends and doctors.
Spanker in adjusting marvelously to the boat. She trained me how to play fetch with her – she LOVES that mousy. She is now ready for international travel with an ISO chip that is recognized around the world as well as the chip that is recognized in the US and Canada. We found a wonderful cat only veterinary clinic on St. Simon’s Island where we will be able to get her all ready late fall for the Bahamas trip. She is now trained to use the litter box without litter in it using instead the framed monofilament mesh insert. Not having little litter pebbles to gum up the bilge pumps as well not having them tracked on the boat is wonderful and the litter box and mesh frame are easily cleaned with a good slosh in the water. As Bill says, “Where do you think the fish go?” I had her on the dock twice but each time she heard something or saw a big bird swoop by and it was a quick jump up to the fender and on to the boat. That is home and safe and we are glad she realizes that.
One afternoon we received a call from Bill and Judy Rohde who were in St. Augustine getting Jubilee ready to hop across to the Bahamas finally ending up with Jubilee being stored in Puerto Rico for the upcoming hurricane season. They had received a call from their Twin Cities sailing friends Bob & Judy Snyder (whom we had met once at a cruisers’ gathering in Minneapolis) who were also readying their boat but at Tiger Point Marina near Fernandina Beach, Fl. The Rohde’s and Snyder’s mutual friends, Jean and Jeff Burton, were flying into Jacksonville that evening to join the Snyder’s for several weeks. Plans were set to meet for dinner in Jacksonville that evening. We got a quick car rental and took a road trip to Jacksonville to have dinner with these three MN sailing couples. So the four couples converged on the Bahamas Breezes restaurant in Jacksonville. It was great to see Bill and Judy, reacquaint ourselves with Bob and Judy and meet Jeff and Jean.
While all of this was going on we both got our teeth cleaned by a local dentist – right next door to the marina no less. They were quite vocal about how well we have taken care of our teeth. I had to smile to myself on that one because from what we have seen that isn’t necessarily the case for some folks down here. We have read many books and have been doing a great deal of research on the Bahamas and beyond since we plan to head to the Bahamas next Nov/Dec and then be south of the hurricane belt for the 2012 season. Trinidad, Tobago, Aruba all sound nice. Modern technology is a real boon, for sure. We attended two 3 session on-line webinars supported by the SSCA (Seven Seas Cruising Association). One on crossing to and sailing in the Bahamas and one on cruising with your pet. Both were well done and provided us with some new and important info and re-enforced other things we had read and learned from other places.
One of the sailors we have met on our dock is 85 years old and sailing a wooden gaff-rigged yawl he has had for decades. He usually takes off for the Chesapeake every year but because of engine problems will last summer. He will be having her hauled early summer so the bottom can be worked on and then hopefully he will be able to head north again. George just heads out to the Atlantic, picks up the Gulf Stream and goes all the way in one shot. Several days later he is in the Chesapeake. He is an inspiration to all of us.
BLM (Brunswick Landing Marina) has two very nice cruisers’ lounges where the locals and transients can trade books, do laundry, watch TV and gather. Every Wednesday from 5:30 until whenever whomever is around brings their libations and their snacks to share. We went many times and met some wonderful people. Many of them left in the last few weeks to go south or to the Bahamas but will be back here for hurricane season. It will be such fun to see them again in a few months and hear how their trips went.
The rest of the time we’ve spent reading. We even took in a movie. It is the first one we have seen in almost a year. If we had a car or the theater were near I am sure we would have enjoyed indulging ourselves more like that. The downtown here is a nice small town but there is no movie theater or large grocery store or other “mall” stores around so we have to rent a car and do a great deal of running around for a day which we have done several times. Although we have to go else where for many things the downtown has several nice eateries and shops as well as a fine library. And they have First Friday. On the first Friday of the month the stores stay open, there is a band or music playing and people come down to wander in and get a free glass of wine and taste the snacks the shops provide.
We have enjoyed our stay here and will be coming back for part of this year’s hurricane season but we are ready to move on and see new places and meet new friends. We are not going to Fernandina Beach as we had originally planned because of the place they were going to have to put us in the marina. But, hopefully, this week-end we will be at the Morningstar Marina in Mayport, FL just 1 ½ miles off the Atlantic on the St. John’s river. On up river is Jacksonville but we want to stay closer to the ocean so we can get some day sailing in. The marina has a loaner car which will be great and will let us wander up to Jacksonville and the mega West Marine store there. And so our sailing life continues.