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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Marsh Harbour to Man-O-War Cay

Thursday we met up with Barb and Barry (BeachCruiser), and Leslie and Doug (Happy Clamz, a Manatee Kroger motor vessel) in Marsh Harbor.  It was one of the best weather days we have had in some time.  We had breakfast and did some shopping and errands.  Once we were loaded back on to Hold Fast, we put the dinghy motor away, pulled up anchor and headed over to Man-O-War Cay.  We made water along the way, about 37 gallons.  We are on a mooring in the Eastern Harbor, which is very quiet and dark at night.  It is also seriously peaceful during windy or stormy weather, which we had Friday night.

On Friday Myron helped Barry and Paul with a project over at Jay’s house.  Jay scored us some batten stock, so I am sure our main sail repair will be a project for Myron in the near future.  To the best of my ability, I compiled mountains of laundry into three loads.  At $5/wash and $5/dry, you can understand why.  After laundry was back on the boat (but not put away) I got the rest of the afternoon with Barb in her sewing room.  We sewed and talked and she gave me all kinds of colors for my current and future quilt projects.  I hope to have more afternoons like that while we are here!

Jay also scored us some sugar cane from his yard.  That is the first time I have ever chewed on sugar cane, it is downright good!

There are more people to see and more things to do here.  Myron says we will be here through the Super Bowl, and then we will be looking for a weather window to head south.

Love to all,
Dena

Posted via 3G.
{GMST}26|35.412|N|077|00.129|W|Mooring|{GEND}

Monday, January 20, 2014

Treasure Cay to Marsh Harbour



Another Yay!  We checked in today at the Jib Room.  Immigration came first, charged us a fee for a Sunday (pretty sure they are not supposed to, but what do you do?) and then gave us 180 days visa.  After I saw the 180 days, I completely got over the Sunday fee.  With the 180 days on our visa, we also got 180 days on our fishing permits.  All up front.  No more changing our plans to accommodate updating permits/visas.  Again, yay!  We are free to roam about the country (for six months anyway).

Now that we are anchored, we put the inverter going and are watching the Patriots/Broncos game.  At least we can get CBS.  Maybe we will even be fortunate enough to get the 49’s/Seahawks game on Fox.  Tomorrow we will walk on land and hopefully find an internet solution via cell phone.

Love to all,
Dena

 Posted via 3G.
     {GMST}26|32.815|N|077|03.390|W|Anchored|{GEND}

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Jensen Beach to Treasure Cay via Port St. Lucie

Yay! We are in the Bahamas and just put a lot of miles under our keel in less than two days, considering that we stopped on the banks for about five hours of shut-eye! Since Myron kept you up to date on our progress, I will just give a few little details that you might find interesting.

We almost did not leave Friday. Myron got up late Thursday night and checked the weather. The forecast was for higher seas than we prefer. The next forecast in the morning was back down to three to four foot seas. We had a few seas that were more like five or six and quite steep. Violent enough to toss my teapot from the port stove to the navigation station, sharing water throughout the distance between. Thank God those types of seas were infrequent.

Myron had checked with BoatUS about the depths for the Port St. Lucie inlet. The fellow told us it would be no problem. He was absolutely right as we mostly saw 20 feet or more and only once saw 17 feet. And that was just after low tide. It was well marked. We have always exited that inlet, but now I would even enter if need be.

There was some indecision as to whether we would pull in to Great Sale Cay for a day or keep on truckin', but as we approached Great Sale Cay we just could not pass up a romp in such favorable winds all the way around the north. We had forecast winds of 20 to 25 with gusts of 30. We saw it all and were regularly doing more than seven knots. We kept reefing down and finally had to put the main away, otherwise the auto pilot (we call him 'Ziggy') could not keep up. Much over seven knots and one of us had to take over the helm. I saw more than eight knots as we approached Crab Cay and Myron saw the same as we rounded the corner. At one point when we were preparing to jibe, we had pulled in the main, and I was about to put the preventer in place on the starboard side when Ziggy completely lost control of the boat and the main did an accidental jibe to port. We had not completely hauled in the main sheet, so it was a hard jibe. Then it jibed back to starboard. We later noticed that the upper batten on the mail sail was broken. I am sure it happened when Ziggy zagged.

We felt the best anchorage in these northwest winds was outside Treasure Cay. That was a long haul for a day's run, but the winds really made it happen. The Whale Cay Cut was the only question, but we did not see any horrible breakers on all the reefs leading up to Whale Cay. The waters outside were lumpy, bumpy and confused. The strong winds kept us moving along over seven knots which makes the seas more tolerable. We had one rough tumble and a shelf in the aft cabin had a book sale all over the cabin floor.

But as dad told me on the phone the other night "all is well that ends well." We were anchored outside Treasure Cay just after 5 pm, got our showers, and had a ginger beer to celebrate. I am sure after we have a snack our eyes will be heavy!

Love to all,
Dena

Posted via Ham Radio.
{GMST}26|39.855|N|077|16.631|W|Anchored|{GEND}

Noon Position

We are doing great Dena is hand steering in 25 -30 kts, boat speed is 6.9 - 8.1 kts.
Myron

Posted via Ham Radio at 11:45 local.
{GMST}26|57.167|N|077|42.654|W|Underway|{GEND}

North end of Great Sale

Dena and I are doing well, we anchored on the banks at 9:15 PM last night until about 2 AM when the winds filled in and are now passing the north end of Great Sale Island under sail.
Myron

Position Time:8:00 AM local
Posted via Ham Radio.
{GMST}27|02.785|N|078|07.510|W|Underway|{GEND}

Friday, January 17, 2014

On The Banks

The crew of Hold Fast Had a good day, 7 ships 2 we changed course for to keep are CPA(closed point of approach) to 1 NM.
Conditions improved to 3-4 ft rollers highest sea temperature was 79.9 deg F. We plan to motor for awhile and maybe anchor on the banks.
Myron

position time 4:59 local
Posted via Ham Radio.
{GMST}27|17.440|N|079|08.194|W|Underway|{GEND}

Half Way Across

We passed the half way point about 12 noon. The conditions are 3-5 with a occasional 6ft swell. So far a good passage lots of big boat traffic we are currently giving way to Anna(freighter).
position time 12:20 PM local
Myron

Posted via Ham Radio.
{GMST}27|11.529|N|079|38.478|W|Underway|{GEND}

Crossing

We are crossing conditions are good 2-3 with occasional 4ft swell beautiful day.
Myron
Will try to report mid stream.

Posted3G.
{GMST}27|09.411|N|080|01.918|W|Underway|{GEND}

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Velcro to Jensen Beach


We have been on and off about our weather window for tomorrow since we got here.  Yesterday we were notified that some of our notarized paperwork was not accepted.  Seemed like we might stay a few more days.  When Myron checked the weather this morning, we were on again for a Friday crossing.  How in the world we were going to pull off getting new paperwork, getting it notarized and off to Arizona, slip the mooring and get 26 miles down the ICW before sunset?  It looked impossible to us and Myron was not pleased.  However, with God nothing is impossible.  The marina did not mind if we stayed a little later, the paperwork showed up by 12:30 pm, with a return FedEx envelope, the notary showed up just before 1 pm and it was all signed and sealed just after 1 pm.  The notary, Steve, a super nice guy, offered to take us to PakMail to drop off the FedEx package, which saved us additional time.  We walked back, drove the dinghy back to the boat, loaded it up and slipped the mooring by 1:30 pm.  We had the wind with us and the tidal current most of the way.  We dropped anchor just after 5:30 pm and shortly after the sun was down!  We never even needed navigation lights!  God is good!

So how do you find a notary in a hurry?  I had no idea, I just typed ‘find a notary’ in Google and got a ‘Notary Rotary.’  I found the closest notary possible and sent him an email to see if he could drive to the marina.  I am so glad we met him.  He was a blessing.  After he finished with us, he was off to do his Treasurer’s work at his church.  What can I say?

It will be an early morning, so it needs to be an early night.  We have prepped Hold Fast for offshore (stowing so heeling over will not make a catastrophe, jack lines, tethers, etc.), next is a shower and dinner.  If we indeed go, we will give you position reports along the way.

Love to all,
Dena


Posted via 3G.
{GMST}27|14.902|N|080|13.293|W|Anchored|{GEND}  

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Serenity Island to Velcro


I am glad it was a short travel day.  Myron is fighting a cold and needs rest.  Once we fueled up at Vero, we rafted up to a moored boat.  No one was home, leaving Myron and me to do the job.  We managed and straightaway got the dinghy going.  Myron took me to shore and I hopped a free bus to the Publix grocery store.  After I returned and assured our credit card company that we were indeed in Vero, we visited with other Whitby owners (five other Whitbys moored in Vero now) and decided to have another Whitby social gathering tomorrow night.  They preferred Thursday because another Whitby will arrive that day, but that is the day we leave to position for a crossing.  Apparently the group is not adverse to another gathering after we leave!

I rented a movie to watch after dinner, then I imagine we will both crash.  Hopefully the weather is cooperative in giving us a good day to view the beach tomorrow.  We can walk or ride the bus to view the sea condition for ourselves. 

It is called Vero Beach, but we call it Velcro because it is a neat place and easy to get stuck here.

Love to all,
Dena

Posted via 3G.
{GMST}27|39.430|N|080|22.265|W|Mooring|{GEND}  


Monday, January 13, 2014

Cocoa to Malabar (Serenity Island)



We had a nice, quiet night.  That did not stop Myron from getting up at 4 am though.  So we were both up at 5 am with a short 24 mile trip in front of us.  We had coffee, milled around and finally picked up anchor around 9 am.  Unfortunately, the winds were back on our nose and it was slow going, at least compared to yesterday.

We have anchored behind this spoil island before.  So far, we are the only ones here.  We expect winds to shift from SE to SW sometime tonight.  Either way, we have less than a mile fetch here and are not too worried about it.  We are far enough off the island and cannot swing into the shallows if a stray thunderstorm comes our way.

If all goes well, we will be in Vero Beach tomorrow.  If all keeps going well, it will only be for a short stay, then we will position for a crossing.  Will keep you posted.

A few hours after we were anchored, a Passport 47 anchored behind us.  We usually look out to make sure we think there is adequate space, but there was loud discussion on that deck so Myron ducked back inside.  A few minutes later I thought I heard yelling.  I thought it was either Myron's computer game or the crew on the boat behind us was going at it.  Finally we went out to take a look and it was the folks on the island yelling for help as their pontoon boat had drifted off the island, stranding them.  Myron fired up Hold Fast, powered her and the anchor chain over near the boat and I snagged it with a boat hook.  "Look honey, we got a new dinghy!"  I said.  Myron climbed aboard, started it up and drove it back to them.  A nice and extremely thankful couple from Nova Scotia.  Never a dull moment at Serenity...

Love to all,
Dena

Posted via 3G.
{GMST}27|59.448|N|080|32.731|W|Anchored|{GEND}  


Sunday, January 12, 2014

Rockhouse Creek to Cocoa (south anchorage)


There was an abundance of lightening, thunder, rain and wind last night.  The thunderstorms were just for an hour or so, which left us with wind.  We were pretty snug in our anchorage and managed to sleep most of the night.

The winds began to increase out of the north this morning as we left.  We were soon able to try out the new spinnaker pole rail.  All I can say is it is much more civilized!  Even I can go up on deck and put the pole away by myself.  I did not even care that I had an audience all through the Haulover Canal.  I had a little trouble connecting to the top ring, but I had the lower ring too far down.  It is a welcome improvement to our system.  I love it when a plan comes together.

With all that wind and the jib poled out, we were over seven knots for several hours.  We made it to this anchorage an hour ahead of schedule.  This is our first time here and we like it.  It would be even better if we could get the free downtown wifi.  We would stop here again regardless. 

It is a chilly but sunny 64.  The wind is cool, but the sun is making our cockpit enclosure nice and toasty.  I think it will be 77 here tomorrow.  Gotta love moving south.  Ernesto and gang left Vero today.  As a result, I doubt we will see them again until the Bahamas.

Love to all,
Dena

 Posted via 3G.
{GMST}28|20.956|N|080|43.099|W|Anchored|{GEND}  


Saturday, January 11, 2014

Matanzas Inlet to Rockhouse Creek


As we got on our way this morning we heard Jacksonville Coast Guard give notice that the St. Augustine Bridge of Lions was closed until further notice, due to mechanical problems.  By the grace of God that bridge is in our rear view mirror!

Today the winds were boisterous from the south and now from the southwest.  Based upon the noise in the rigging and how we are pulling on the anchor, I would guess they are in the 20’s.  We had to sneak out some jib, sheeted on the inside, to help us against the wind.  We expect the winds to swing to the north during the night.  Two peaceful nights out of three is not bad.  We are dug in and well scoped and now I am going to try to take care of the halyard noise.  There are two other boats in the anchorage, Pay Dirt, a DeFever, and a sloop, name unknown until the wind turns.  More may come.   I thought leaving this late we would be mostly by ourselves.  We are not in the thick of the crowd, but we have had company at every anchorage.

Crew and boat are fine and we are already looking for a weather window to get across the Gulf Stream.

Love to all,
Dena

   Posted via 3G.
{GMST}29|03.659|N|080|55.876|W|Anchored|{GEND} 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Pine Island to Matanzas Inlet



We were all by ourselves yesterday until a motor vessel, Destiny, joined us in the anchorage.  After dinner and watching a show, we headed for bed.  I figured it was well after 9 pm.  When I checked the time, it was 7 pm straight up!  We must have needed the rest. 

When we got up this morning, we were socked in with fog.  It was a good thing we did not have a long day, so waiting around until 9 am was not stressful.  Going out on the ICW in thick fog IS stressful.  Other than a couple more patches of fog, we had an easy run to St. Augustine.  We cruised by Fred’s work, but he should have been home asleep.  We took on fuel at Inlet Marina.  The dock master, Jay, was very friendly and helpful.  We were concerned whether we would make the 11:30 opening for the Bridge of Lions.  He told us that if we needed to wait, we could pull over to a long free dock just south of the public pier by his marina.  That dock is for daytime transients who may want to pull up and get some provisions because there is a Publix at the end of the street.  All handy information if you do not have the luxury of provisioning in Jacksonville.  Jay said it is rarely utilized.

We are now anchored in the Matanzas inlet with winds out of the southeast.  The sun is finally out and we are getting good solar gain in our enclosed cockpit.   Nice and toasty.  I can tell we will get good rest again tonight. 

Love to all,
Dena

Posted via 3G.
{GMST}29|43.003|N|081|14.407|W|Anchored|{GEND} 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

OYCM to Pine Island



Yay oh yay, we are on our way!  I am not going to say finally, because we see a ton of friends, get a bunch of projects done, and meet new people while we are at OYCM (like Ernesto, Natalia, Camila and Matias on Taia).  So it is not like we cannot wait to leave some place, it is that we are excited to get to a new place!

Many projects were started while we were at the dock, some were actually completed.  I will only mention a few.  Myron installed a rail on the mast for the spinnaker pole.  Now we can dip jibe the pole while it is still attached to the mast.  Previously the pole, sixteen feet long, was free at both ends on a jibe.  That makes for some animated two person crew moments aboard Hold Fast in a rolling sea.  Myron is also pleased that his custom $10 oil air separator system seems to be working as planned.  We also had our anchor and 200 feet of chain galvanized.  Both look brand new, except about every other chain link was galvanized to the next link, sometimes it was several in a row.  It took Myron and me over six hours of pounding with a dead blow to get all the links loose.  This chore arrived during our coldest days.  We waited until the temperature was above freezing to go out to work, which happened to be at noon on Tuesday.  I volunteered for the bulk of the pounding while Myron tackled other projects.  Besides, my greatest mechanical finesse is accomplished with a hammer.

We were also surprised by a Whitby 42 social gathering at Ortega Landing.  It is always interesting to see what is different about another person’s Whitby, as well as add to our every growing list of cruising friends.  One of the Whitbys is owned by a John Coelho.  Isn’t that funny!  Two Coelho’s with Whitbys!  Further, the Whitby club’s president, Cindy Ann, is an experienced quilter.  Check another box for camaraderie because I just started quilting, a pattern Jean (Deltaville) taught me called ‘cathedral.’  Cindy Ann even gave me some colors to put in it.

Yesterday we had a goodbye lunch with Fred and a goodbye dinner with Paul and Shari.  Goodbyes are hard, so we leave it at ‘see you later.’

Today was drizzling and dreary when we left and same now that we are anchored.  Not a huge travel day, we need to rest up from all the preparation work.  Paul said our anchor looked new and he would steer clear of us in an anchorage, ie. we must be newbies.  When we got to Pine Island, we drug that anchor all over the place.  On the fourth drop, out closer to the ICW, we got a really good hold on a short scope.  I am sure it would have worked on the first try if Paul had not commented about being newbies!!

It is not as cold as it has been, but the stack is still on the wood/coal stove.  We are showered up, Myron is lighting the stove and I am going to get dinner going.

Love to all,
Dena
 

Posted via 3G.
{GMST}30|03.049|N|081|21.962|W|Anchored|{GEND}