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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Sugar Apple

Uncle Willard said the weather was warm unusually late and it tricked the sugar apple trees into a second fruiting.  We have never been here for sugar apple season.  Now that he handed one to us, we were not exactly sure how to eat it.

Days later when Jay jumped aboard, we showed him that the sugar apple had reached its appropriate softness, thereby exhausting our expertise on the matter.  Jay pulled it apart and had us scoop out the milky flesh with a spoon.  Other than communicating the sweet mellow flavor to the brain, the mouth is also responsible for separating the big black seeds from the fruit and spitting them out.  If the spoon came to close to the fruit skin when retrieving flesh, we got a bit of grit.  Do not bias the mind by thinking “apple” while eating it.  I would equate it more with sweet white yogurt, if, of course, that yogurt had big black seeds.  We both loved it and can only hope for the weather to play tricks on the trees again next year.

Our stay at Jay’s dock thus far has had its magical moments: we have been visited by fairies.  We step off the boat to tackle a project on shore, or for whatever reason, and come back to find treasures.  There is the citrus fairy, delivering key limes, lemons, sour orange and tangelos.  Yummy all by themselves, or juiced, or transformed into tart lemon bread.  There is also the fish fairy, having twice now delivered delectable strawberry grouper.  There is also the fresh hot bun fairy, visiting this time while we were still on the boat.  We were in nap mode after a night I only got 20 minutes sleep due to a cold front passage that blew us off the dock before the tide left us grounded with a 10 degree or so angle.  We were all straightened out the next day, snuggled under cover when we heard a knock on the boat and the announcement that fresh buns from the oven were in the cockpit.  We rolled over dreaming about warm bread and must have been in REM sleep and dead to the world when, hours later, the waffle fairy delivered two waffles – not into the cockpit, but all the way in to the galley.  We never knew it.  Glad it was the waffle fairy and not some malevolent creature.   We are not the only benefactors.  Barry and Jay were visited by the cinnamon roll fairy and Jan was visited by the pizza fairy.

No, we do not believe in fairies.  However, on this island compound of four structures and two docks, we seem perfectly incapable of finding each other when we want to deliver a kindness.  Why dwell on our incompetence?  I am going with fairies.

Love to all,

Thursday, December 29, 2016


All tuck in at Man-O-War cay.
No problems on crossing just bad radio propagation so no position updates.

{GMST}26°35.42'N|077°00.05'W|1:18 PM|{GEND}

Saturday, December 24, 2016


Damaged roofs, broken windows and mangled docks have been a steady component of our scenery. Hurricane Matthew has certainly had a hand in the full employment of roofers and dock repairmen.

I realized how much I missed watching pelicans and terns at the hunt. They are some of my favorite seabirds. Pelicans, because they are quiet, and terns because they are so elegant and graceful. South of Smyrna Beach, we got into white pelicans and royal terns. Some dolphin played on our stern wake and we had a few glimpses of manatees. This afternoon I changed into shorts and a t-shirt. Sunshine warms more than the skin. The winds were up the last few hours of travel, accompanied by whitecaps. The jib was put to work to get us here before 5 pm.

For the curious, our new anchor did fabulously again last night. It is our first time anchoring in this spot. No current but winds are certainly up. A three-masted schooner (like Hamilton's) followed us most of the afternoon (pirates!) and anchored to the south of us.

There was much less boat traffic today. On Christmas Eve, most people are where they want to be. We are running behind given the challenges of this fall, so we have adopted the attitude of wanting to be where we are. I believe that meets the definition of content. We enjoy Christmas wherever we are - the exception of course being stuck in an airport.

We wish you all the best this Christmas and that you too are content. Merry Christmas!

Love to all,
Dena & Myron

{GMST}28°07.45'N|080°35.98'W|5:14 PM|{GEND}

Friday, December 23, 2016

Rockhouse Creek

It is official: we like our new anchor. Only one night is not enough to make a conclusion, but it is better than NOT liking our new anchor. At 65 pounds, it sets pretty quick and pulls the bow down when we tug on it. It also fits much differently in the bow roller, a little better than our Manson Supreme.

We had a small swell that wrapped into our anchorage last night and at least three tugs that went by. Neither were a nuisance, more of a pleasant rocking to sleep. We were anchor up before sunrise and through the Bridge of Lions (St. Augustine) at the 7:30 am opening. I am glad to get through that bridge as well. One year it broke a couple hours after we when through and no one that had a mast was going south on the ditch for more than a week.

Rockhouse was a bit full when we arrived at 5 pm. Today the tides were against us until 1 pm. We putted around looking for a spot. We almost gave up but decided to snuggle in between a cruiser and a derelict boat. Rockhouse has a good current running in and out. We consider it another good night for an anchor test.

Love to all,

{GMST}29°03.66'N|080°55.88'W|6:12 PM|Farm{GEND}

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Down The Ditch

Metro Park gave us a quiet night. No boat wakes after dark.

The weather does not currently support an ocean sail down to Fort Pierce. Therefore we are going down the ICW and hope to meet up with friends at Vero Beach. Other than our last two hours of today's travels, the tide was with us, helping us move over 7 knots, sometimes 8.6 knots. We arrived in plenty of time for showers and dinner before sunset. Sometimes the tides work with you.

Dinner was rice pilaf, corn and salmon cakes,topped off with a sip of eggnog. I am pondering eggnog French toast for breakfast...no syrup needed!

Love to all,

{GMST}29°55.46'N|081°18.23'W|6:05 PM|St Aug{GEND}

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Splash At Last

After almost three weeks of significant projects, Hold Fast was launched today. We appreciate Green Cove Springs boatyard, but we are very happy to leave any boatyard. They lowered us in but kept us in the straps while we checked for leaks. There was a little hiccup with a leaky strainer for the engine raw water. Once that was resolved, the crew lowered us the rest of the way and we headed for the Main Street Bridge. It was so cold I could not stay out on deck very long. As a result, it was not until we got to the first red marker that I found the yard's rub rail blocks still hanging over the sides. Back to the boatyard we went, like that place has some kind of vortex that would not let us leave. Beau saw us return, drove the golf cart out on the pier and let me toss the blocks to him. We did not even have to tie up.

We initially had to the tide with us, so we were off to the races, doing almost 7 knots. Even when we left Ortega River Marina, my motto was "just get us through the Main Street Bridge." That motto rang true today due to the time restrictions for openings: midnight, 4 am, 6:45 am, noon, 4:15 pm and 8 pm. Of course none of those times work with the tidal currents. We had to wait for the FEC RR Bridge and we were still an hour early for the 4:15 pm opening. Jacksonville Landing was abused by Hurricane Matthew, but good enough to tie up while we waited for the designated time. There was not much traffic, just two tugs inbound and us outbound. Paul and Shari followed with tradition, even in the chilling temperatures, and met up with us on Gretel after we cleared the Main Street Bridge. They pressed on to figure out where we should tie up at the Metro Marina. The Metro is adjacent to the Ever Bank Ball Park and it can get quite busy for the Jaguar home games. The next home game is this weekend, so we are good for the night. Only two other boats here. We had a nice visit with Paul and Shari, and they brought cookies they just made today! Yummy!

We just finished dinner. The wood burning stove was lit, and it is time for a shower. It is a relief to be finally underway.

Love to all,

{GMST}30°19.15'N|081°38.44'W|6:14 PM|Farm{GEND}

Saturday, March 19, 2016

The Boatyard Green Cove Springs

There is no decent internet at this boat yard.  As a result, our update is almost outdated.

We have had a whirlwind of one mission after another.  We had only one night to visit with our friends at the marina.   The next day we had breakfast with Fred, and then took a rental car up to Deltaville to retrieve our van.  The rental car was an experience of its own.  The first clue came when the rental car guy wanted to know how many bags we were carrying.  Odd question to ask unless we were getting an exceptionally small car.  This was a one-way rental and the clerks usually try to get rid of cars they do not want on their lot.  He said he was giving us a Chevy Spark.  I told him I have no idea what that is.  He said it kind of looks like a skate.  He was right.  He asked if we wanted to pre-pay the gas.  Why not?  I told him the thing probably only held five gallons of gas.  I was wrong, it held nine.  Which was all we needed for that long drive through five states.  

It was an exhausting ten hour drive as I am sure those little tikes were only meant to drive around town, not up Highway 95 at 70 MPH behind trucks.  The pros were that we got a gazillion miles per gallon and if we crashed, we could save on funeral costs as they could just bury us in that thing.  The cons included an incredibly rough ride, so much so that some of the bumps threw the phone right out of Myron’s hand.  Praise be to God, we arrived tired but safe.

We spent two nights in Deltaville visiting the Wards who are practically family.  Here is Helen Elizabeth, Sophie, Helen, and Macon at breakfast:

Floyd, Jean and Myron enjoying breakfast at Helen Elizabeth's gourmet "The Table" in Deltaville:

Saturday we had a few hours with Chris and Bill, and their dog Flaco, in Matthews: 

After that visit, we drove on to Elizabeth City and spent one night visiting with Dan and Kathy of Maritime Ministries, as well as playing with their dog Baxter.  We were back at the marina by Sunday night to visit with Phyllis, Merrick and the boys on Galaxy.  On Monday, Shari came aboard to help us to move the boat to Green Cove Springs Marina.  In route, we saw Paul and Jack sailing on the St. John’s River.  What I was hoping would be a nice day on the river with Shari turned into a lot of wind and salt spray.  Paul said the highest gust he saw was 37 knots.  Not a "Shari sailing" day.

Paul sailing near us on 'Hansel:'

Paul later brought our van down to the boat yard.  We were hauled out after lunch on a rather warm Tuesday (90 degrees), got the prop off and shaft out on Wednesday, drove them up to Brunswick the same day and repeated that drive to pick them up Thursday afternoon.  After lunch with Fred on Friday, a bunch of parts arrived – except one needed to finish the prop shaft project.  We have many other projects on our list.   What gets done, gets done.  It is all a matter of the availability of time and BOAT units (Break Out Another Thousand).

Hold Fast being moved into position for the lift:

Transitioning Hold Fast from the lift to the trailer:

Love to all,

{GMST}29°58.94'N|081°39.05'W|3/19/2016|10:06 AM{GEND} 

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

A Quick Run

It was a pleasant stay at Pine Island. After anchoring in the midst of cities, it was a welcome relief. The wildlife noises go all night long. More calls from cardinals and osprey are added in the morning as the greet the morning and go in search of breakfast. We were glad for the protected anchorage at Daytona, but it was bike week there and the droning of bikers as well as the motorcross at the speedway did not go unnoticed.

We took up anchor early, hoping to get as much of a ride on the tidal current as possible. To our surprise, we were able to make more than seven knots heading toward the St. John's River and therefore were able to have a unexpected fast run up the river. When we added the jib, we were doing nine knots. That got a little rowdy so we reduced sail to keep Hold Fast off her ear. We were through the Main Street Bridge by noon and into a slip at Ortega River Marina before 1 pm. After some visiting, and good wash down on the boat and a load of laundry thrown into the washer, we are getting showers and preparing to walk across the street for some Chic Fil A.

Hold Fast will be in this slip until March 14, when we head down to haul out.

Love to all,

{GMST}30°16.49'N|081°42.94'W|3/9/2016|4:13 PM{GEND}

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

A Welcome Sight

Today felt like a long day. We were underway before 6:30 am and at our first bridge by 6:45 am. Our last bridge was at 2 pm, the Bridge of Lions at St. Augustine, and from that point, we eased up and cruised in to the anchorage at Pine Island just after 4 pm. I think it felt like a long day due to the bridges as well as the stress of some shoaling areas that we hit during a negative tide. Matanzas had a negative 0.9 tide just after we passed through. I was at the helm when we were near the south anchorage at St. Augustine. The water shallowed up swiftly (from 30 to 8.8 feet) with no such indication on the chart plotter. We suspect it was a sunken vessel. We are on too tight a time schedule to get caught up on those old bones. I do not recall a year when we have seen so many broken vessels along the ICW. The anchorage at Cocoa Beach had three sailboats ashore and one power boat sunk but exposed. Several boats, I counted five, were sunk or ashore at Titusville. I saw a fairly new power boat sunk at a dock north of Daytona, plus many, many more. It seems like a sad commentary on broken dreams.

Speaking of dreaming, it is time to grab a nap and then maybe think about dinner.

Love to all,

{GMST}30°03.03'N|081°21.98'W|3/8/2016|4:36 PM{GEND}

Monday, March 7, 2016


Today was a three bridge day. That is the way I look at it when we are traveling on the ICW. Three is the number of bridges we needed opened to get through. I love fixed bridges that are 65' or more.

We saw more bird and sea life again today. It is such a joy to see dolphins. We also saw manatee around Haulover Canal Bridge near the Cape. The huge population of small ducks would not let us get close enough to identify them. We also saw loons and white pelicans, in addition to the usual feathered suspects of gulls, terns, oyster catchers, osprey and regular pelicans. The winds were mostly on the beam, letting us use the jib to pull us along at over six knots. When the tidal current was with us, we were doing over eight knots. As a result, we had the anchor down by 4:15 pm.

Tomorrow will have a few more miles to cover and, more importantly, it is a five bridge day. One of those is the Bridge of Lions at St. Augustine, a timed opening with restrictions. Hopefully it will all work out and we can be in as early as today.

Time to rest up. Love to all,

{GMST}29°10.52'N|080°59.62'W|3/7/2016|4:41 PM{GEND}