Monday, December 11, 2017

12/11 Another Sunny Day

12/11 Monday  We started out just as the sun was rising.  As we started out we were headed south east and the sun was right in our eyes and shinning off the water too.  Thankfully, it rose in the sky and we started running more directly south.  Just like yesterday,  the temperature on the fly bridge rose to the high 70's and we took to the fly bridge for a fabulous cruising day.

Dolphins checked on us periodically.  We passed the Ormond Beach Bridge.  All the pilings for this bridge are decorated with dolphin and manatee.  One of the best parts of our travels is finding art hidden in plain sight.

The iconic lighthouse at the Ponce de Leon Inlet shone brightly today as we passed.

Tonight, we are docked at New Smyrna Beach.  There is an island nearby that is covered by birds.  They look like Christmas ornaments on the bushes.
I didn't get any good pictures but about 8 dolphins were playing in the waters just outside the marina.  They were making sounds like Flipper did and slapping their tails.  I was amazed.

As we cruised today, we could hear the fan belt squealing so after we tied up, it was time to tighten the belt.  It is hard to get to in the engine room and the fan belt had left some dirt.  After we got the fan belt tightened, we took advantage of the nice shower rooms here.

Tomorrow, we go to Cocoa Beach.  We will be heading south but looking to the southeast.  NASA is sending up a supply rocket tomorrow and we hope to see the launch from our boat.  When the last space shuttle went up, we met Christine at the Kennedy Space Center and were guests of one of the astronauts for that launch.  What was the most interesting then, was that you could see the launch first and then heard and felt the sound.  I look forward to that feeling tomorrow.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

12/10 The Sun

12/10 Sunday.  Finally, the sun came out!  It was still cold though.  We pulled away from the dock early to take advantage of the rising tide. We ran the generator to warm the salon.  As the sun rose in the sky, even the salon warmed up.  Eventually, we checked the fly bridge and  it was so nice and warm up there.  It was in the high seventies.  We moved to run from up there.  We even opened one of the windows to cool it down.

The cruising was easy.  We passed St. Augustine.  It is one of my favorite cities.  In December of last year, when we stopped there, we enjoyed all the Christmas activities that we going on.  This time, I just got a picture of the St. Augustine Light House and the St Augustine Fort before the Bridge of Lions opened for us to pass under.

There is so much to see along the waterways.  This B and B is over the water had a huge shark sticking out over the water.

We stopped for the night at Palm Coast Marina.  There is a set of shops and restaurants called the European Village about a 10 minute walk from the marina.  As the sun set, the evening got chilly quickly.  The walk was nice though.  Our dinner was great and filling.  Neither John nor I had room for dessert.  Tomorrow, we continue south.  The day promises to be cold and sunny again.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

12/9 Florida, Not the Sunhine State

Florida, Not the Sunshine State
Saturday 12/9, we woke to another cold, raw day.  We skyped with our granddaughters in Houston, who were excited to tell us about the snow they had yesterday.  Then we headed south toward Florida.  The tide was rising as we made the twists and turns through the southern end of Georgia.  The water was very choppy as we crossed St. Andrews Sound but that didn't last long.

At St. Mary's there is a military port.  On our way there, we passed three military patrol boats.  They were going fast and had visible manned guns on the boats.  I didn't get the picture but rest assured, I was glad they were not after me.  We saw some ships in the port. 

This port also works on submarines.  This is what a dock for submarines looks like.

There was still no sun as we passed into Florida.  When we passed Fernandina, the boats were still stacked up om the shore from the Hurricane Matthew in 2016.  The marina docks are still closed there too.  This is the first time we are staying at the Jacksonville Free Dock on Sisters Creek.  The wind was about 17 miles per hour on our bow with a strong current running against us.  Thankfully, the crew of the Carolina, docked there came out to catch our lines.  We appreciated their help.  Pasta and chicken is on the menu for dinner.

Tomorrow, we head further south.  The forecast is cold but is promising some sun.

Friday, December 8, 2017

12/07 and 12/08 It turns cold and rainy

Thursday 12/7, we woke to cold and rain in Thunderbolt.  That makes it a great day to travel.  We cruised the intracoastal with very little other boat traffic.  In GA, there is an area called Hell Gate.  It has earned its name and has lots of notations on Active Captain.  We went through without incident though. Hell Gate was heavenly at high tide.  For the night, we pulled off the ICW in the Crescent River anchorage.  It was a peaceful, wide anchorage with good holding.  But it was cold!   We kept the generator on and kept the heat on in our bedroom.

Friday 12/8, we pulled anchor to head for Jekyll Island, GA.  It was still cold all day.  We are very dry in our salon and run from the helm there.  We are snuggled in our sweatshirts.  We started out early so we had a rising tide to help us through the shallow areas without any problems today.  At St. Simon's Sound, we safely crossed paths with the Emerald Princess.

It was time for a late lunch after we pulled into Jekyll Harbor Marina.  Their marina restaurant is very good.  I had a salad and shrimp and grits.  Other boats here were decorated for Christmas with trees and figures. 
So it was time for me to pull out my Christmas lights for the Hydrophilic.  Fa la la la la!
Neither John not I felt like much dinner so we had appetizers, Irish coffees and dessert.  The rain has not let up though.  As I write this, we have thunder and lightning and pouring rain.   Tomorrow, we hope for the end to the rain and some sunshine as we cross into Florida.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

12/06 Fresh water replacement in Thunderbolt

Savannah Belle Ferry Juliette Gordon Low
So last night as we readied for bed, our fresh water pump did not work.  We checked the obvious; 1. we had water in the tanks, 2. the breaker was on, 3. we replaced the in house filter to make sure it was not clogged.   No luck.  The ice maker had not made ice in a while either.  Fortunately, we are at Thunderbolt Marina.  They have a huge boat yard here.  The tiny town of Thunderbolt is just south of Savannah on the Wilmington River and is dedicated to boating.

While we were waiting for the mechanic, John called around and a replacement pump was available just over 1/2 mile up the road in a very well stocked marine store.  I was up and back in less than a half hour.  The morning was pleasant and warm.  While waiting, I got a wash in and got to do a great work out on the stern deck. Chris and the ladies in my gym back at Assertive Fitness would be proud.
There were two boats of particular interest today.  One was from the Savannah Belle Ferry, the Juliette Gordon Low.  As a former Girl Scout, I always read about Savannah, as the home of the Girl Scouts.  Thunderbolt Marina takes care of boats from all over the world.  This huge boat, Blue Moon, is from Georgetown.  I just don't think I want to pay all the crew needed for this boat or I would buy one.

The mechanic came and indeed the pump was shot.  He replaced it quickly.  We had water from the faucets and were making ice in no time.  Meanwhile, the forecasted weather front came through.  It started to pour rain and the temperature dropped.  It is supposed to be rainy and cold for 3 days.  Ugh.
Tomorrow, we will head south again.  We will probably anchor for one or two nights so I might not blog.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

12/4 to 12/5 Low Country of SC to Thunderbolt GA

12/4 Monday was still cold in the morning, but at least it was sunny.  We cruised past Charleston Harbor and headed to Beaufort, SC.  There is a Beaufort, SC and a Beaufort, NC.  Beaufort, SC is pronounced Bewfort; while Beaufort, NC is pronounced Bowfort.  Add in my Boston accent just for grins.  This area of SC is called the Low Country.  As in the picture below, there are lots of marshes and the land never gets very high.
 12/5 Tuesday was beautiful as we left Beaufort just after sunrise.  This sailboat left just ahead of us.
There are some areas known for having very low water and we wanted to get through those areas before low tide in the afternoon.  No problem, beautiful day, right?  WRONG!!  We passed Parris Island, where they make Marines, but as we crossed Port Royal Inlet, the fog rolled in big time.  Thankfully, we have radar.  These pictures will give you some idea of how thick the fog got. 
We used our horn to send out fog warnings every 2 minutes.  Boats were good about being on the radio and telling their location.  Here is a marker and how we could see it in the fog and then as we got closer.

As we came past Hilton Head Harbor Marina, we saw that their fuel dock was free.  They agreed to have us on the inside of the fuel dock to wait out the fog.  We were glad for the respite after the hours of fog.  The opportunity to get fuel was taken.  Eventually, the fog started to lift and we headed south again.  We still used the radar some though but made it through the area where there was low water before low tide.  The Savannah River was crossed.  Our destination was Thunderbolt Marina in Thunderbolt, GA, just south of Savannah.  It is a very huge marina where they work on all sorts of boats including boats that do Atlantic Ocean crossings.  This boat, Maverick, from London fueled up shortly after we pulled in.

Tomorrow, we hope for less fog.  The weather promises to turn cold and rainy for 3 days.  We plan to anchor out for the next few nights.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

12/3 Traveling with a super moon

Tonight 12/3 is a super moon.  That means that the high tides will be extra high and the low tides will be extra low.  It also means that one has to plan the journey carefully.  We left Jeremy Creek just after 7 a.m. so we were traveling close to high tide through that area.  We could tell that if we had done it at low tide we would never have had enough water to pass without getting running aground.  The weather was cloudy.  It was 60 degrees but it was raw. I stayed bundled up on the fly bridge.  As we entered Charleston Harbor, the sun finally started to peek out.  Our challenges were not done for the day.  We had to transit Ellicott Cut.  This is about a 3 mile cut between the  Ashley River and the Stono River.  It was almost low tide now and the water was running very fast through the cut.  It was like running rapids.  John had the engine running hard and we were still going less than 4 knots, that is slow.  Emerging from the cut onto the Stono River had me celebrating.  Just around the corner was our stop for the night, St. John's Yacht Club Marina.  The sun was out in full now.  We have been here before.  The showers are nice  I ran a quick load of laundry and we took the courtesy car to dinner.  The super moon rose across the river.  It was huge in the sky.

It is  Sunday.  When we are underway, I get to attend Mass by listening to it on Sirius on my cell phone.  The Mass is live from St. Patrick's Cathedral.  Today, Cardinal Timothy Dolan said the Mass and gave a really good sermon on the start of Advent.  My gym buddy, Jill Saelen, gave me the St. Brendan medallion in the picture above.  St. Brendan is the patron saint of navigators.  I also grew up in St. Brendan's parish in Boston.  

Tomorrow, we plan to travel with the high tide to Beaufort, SC.  It is a great little town.  The last time we were there we went to the Kazoo Factory and Museum.