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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Daytona Beach

I forgot to mention last night, especially to our cruising friends, that the USCG put out a Notice to Mariners that buoys 4, 5, 6 and 7 for the St. Augustine Inlet are off station, in other words, out of place or gone.  I was reminded of that notice at 5:30 am when I heard the USCG talking on channel 16 to a sailboat that had gone aground in the inlet (the name of the boat was ‘Indulgence’).  The news was confirmed by sight as we passed by the inlet after daybreak and saw the sailboat high and dry on a sand bar at the edge of the inlet.  On the radio, BoatUS called it a salvage operation.  Indulgence was not on the ICW side of the sand bar, but we do not know whether they were going in the inlet or confused in the dark with the ICW.  Either way, heads up to Taia if you chose to use the St. Augustine Inlet.

In the first picture below, you can see the anchor line off the bow and what looks like the overturned tow boat off the port bow.

No matter how bad your day is today, remember it could be worse.

I still had some french bread left over after yesterday’s tasty French toast brunch, so I made turkey/avocado sandwiches on it.  Yep, we eat well aboard Hold Fast.  And it shows.
We struggled most of the day against the tidal current.  Oy!  Regardless, we made more miles than usual and were able to put the hook down before sunset.  Although it was not without its own challenges.  We tried on the east side, then again on the west side where everyone else was.  We could not get satisfied that the hook would hold.  Clearly we are more particular than the rest of the folks that were anchored in that area - which does not bode well.  We gave up on those spots and continued on the ICW, pulling off at another anchorage to the west.  The holding is much better, so here we are, all by ourselves.  Another failing grade for our attempts to be lemmings.

The weather forecast for the next week is bleak for crossing the Gulf Stream.  To make lemonade out of lemons, we plan to slow down and explore some of the townships around Indian River.  I wanted to go ashore at Coco Beach.  Maybe we can make that happen.  Whatever, we shall see.  One day at a time!  And now it is time to heat up Thanksgiving left overs.

Love to all,
Dena

Posted via Mifi.
{GMST}29|10.532|N|080|59.615|W|Anchored|{GEND}

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Underway Again - St. Augustine

So much to do, so little time.  Even so, we managed to visit with a lot of friends in Jacksonville.  Shari, Fred and Paulette were gracious enough to run us around for our errands, Myron for parts and such, me for provisioning.  One shipment was late, and that pushed us beyond a two week stay.  Since we would be in Jacksonville through Tuesday for the delivery, why not stay through Thanksgiving?  I was not sure how to pull off our usual Thanksgiving dinner at OYCM because there is no longer a Captain’s Lounge to set up food.  So we broke with tradition and did not smoke a monster turkey.  I chose to cook one onboard.  I think I embarrassed Shari at the grocery store when I pulled out my mini tape measure to ascertain what poundage of turkey would squeeze into my teeny tiny oven.  The winner, weighing in at 12.42 pounds, was just under 7 inches in height from back to breast.   We carted the food to the car and had dinner aboard 'Taia' with Ernesto, Natalia, Matias and Camila.  It was a lovely day.

It is always my goal, and hope, that we have completed enough projects during our stay to make our last day really just for wrap up.  That has yet to happen.  I was busy all day, stopped for our pizza night and a visit with Rich and Paulette (and Lucky Dog), then kept at it until late in the evening, including getting those pictures up to share.  I was sleeping light so a train woke me up at 3 am.  We tried to sleep again, then Myron gave up and got dressed at 4:30 am and me at 5 am.  We left the dock around 6 am, in the dark.  There were no problems with the FEC RR Bridge or the Main Street Bridge, and the tide was pushing us well ahead of schedule at over eight knots.  We suffered only the last few hours of travel today, when the tide turned against us and we were down to five knots or less.  But still, we fueled up at Inlet Marina, back-tracked to the anchorage and were ready for showers by 3:15 pm.  We considered traveling further, possibly anchoring on the other side of Lion’s Bridge, but we are both plenty tired and ready to call it a day.  This is a new stop for us and it positions us to try another new stop tomorrow.  We shall see how it goes and whether or not we get fog in the morning.

I forget how calm it is on the ICW.  It motivated me to make our traditional leftover turkey enchiladas while underway.  They are heating up in the oven now.  I have no doubt, once those calories are consumed, we will fall asleep in place!

Love to all,
Dena

Posted via Mifi.
{GMST}29|55.500|N|081|18.202|W|Anchored|{GEND}

Friday, November 28, 2014

Picture Time!

We have updated our pictures on the link to the right, they now include our travels from Onset to Chesapeake and from Norfolk to Jacksonville.  Below are a couple from the two new albums...

Yummy crabs from the East Wye River...



Hold Fast running downwind on Chesapeake Bay:

Sunrise at Norfolk:

Surprising beauty on the Alligator/Pungo Canal

There are plenty more pictures in the two newest albums.  Click on the link to the right for the photo gallery.

Love to all,
Dena

Friday, November 7, 2014

OYCM

When I woke up this morning I started to panic.  It was light outside.  I thought the sun was up and we were late.  Not so.  The moon was so bright, we could see without headlights and untie the lines, jump aboard and get moving only two minutes after 6 am.  I called the Main Street Bridge at 7 am to reserve a 9 am opening.  Ernest was very nice and took down our boat name, closing with 'see you at 9.'  I felt confident.

We rode the tide in with the boat barely in gear and were at the Main Street Bridge with more than 15 minutes to spare.  The FEC RR Bridge opened for some motor vessels and then called the Main Street Bridge and asked if the sailboats waiting (that would be us) were planning to also come through the FEC.  When Main Street responded in the affirmative, FEC asked when he was going to open the Main Street.  Suddenly we had an earlier than expected opening of the Main Street and were soon through the open FEC.  Life was good.

At OYCM, we were met at the dock by Fred, John, Paul and Shari to catch lines and welcome us home.  We have already run errands, had Mexican food in Green Cove Springs, and a night out at Moon River Pizza where our crowd increased with Ernesto, Natalya and the kids, Camila and Matias, plus Ernesto's mom and dad.  You just cannot beat that with a stick for a first day back.

We hope to have all our projects, errands and visits complete by the next FEC Bridge opening on November 22.  I doubt I will catch up the blog until then, except for pictures.

Love to all,
Dena

Posted via Mifi.
{GMST}30|16.495|N|081|42.949|W|Slip|{GEND}

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Sister's Creek Free Dock

Wednesday was a perfect weather day (and night) at Cumberland Island.  A rare event for us in the fall.  We took a walk for more than two hours.  We were amazed at all the horseshoe crab shells on the beach.  Indeed we found some ponies.  They were so unafraid of us, we had to wait for them to walk across the trail in front of us and we even backed up so they did not step on our feet.  For the first time, we saw armadillos and turkeys and found a cemetery we had not come across previously.  Always fun to add new sightings to our island hikes. 

Today’s trip to Sister’s Creek Free Dock was uneventful until the end when Paul and Shari surprised us in Gretel, their little fast boat.  They were trying to get to the Fort George cut off so they could sneak up on us from behind.  But we left Cumberland Island earlier than they calculated and we met them after we had passed the Fort George intersection.  They raced back to the free dock and were there to help us dock Hold Fast in a rather strong current.  We wanted to be bow out for an easy exit tomorrow morning.  That meant a down-current landing.  Only one big bump and she was in.  They brought lunch and we got to visit for several hours, which seemed like minutes.   Shari said it was like we never left.  They are easy to be around and I was so glad to see them – it made the time at the dock fly by.  But they had to leave and make the about 20 mile trip back to OYCM. 

We hope to be at OYCM tomorrow morning.  Dockmaster Paul told us our old slip is waiting for us.  Our goal is to time the 9 am opening of the FEC (Florida East Coast) RR Bridge.  I found out today from Mr. Brown, the Dockmaster for this free dock, the FEC is the oldest bridge on the St. John’s River.  It shows.  Separately, due to ongoing repairs, we must make a reservation two hours in advance with the Main Street Bridge, which is just before the FEC Bridge.  In my mind that meant I could call tonight and make a reservation for a 9 am opening.  “No” said the woman on the phone, “you must call at 7 am if I want a 9 am opening, two hours in advance.”  “Thank you” I said in my best southern accent, because I could tell there was no arguing with this woman and her tone indicated that I was the idiot.

Again, our goal tomorrow is OYCM.  The success of that objective is not entirely within our control.  If we make it, we will become immediately consumed in catching up with our friends on the docks and running a few errands.  I will do my best to get a post out and remove any suspense!

Love to all,
Dena

Posted via Mifi.
{GMST}30|23.887|N|081|27.463|W|Anchored|{GEND}

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Cumberland Island - Yay!


Not bad for a two day trip, the first day always being better than the second - weather wise.  Our only real tangle with traffic was with freighters around the Charleston sea buoy and shrimpers at St. Mary’s inlet.  Both sunsets were breathtaking.  I was blessed to have a single dolphin come ride the bow wave.  I went up to watch him and could hear him communicating.  Within a few minutes, there were two, then three and finally six were bumping each other for position on the bow wake, alternately leaping out of the water in front of Hold Fast.  Strapped in, I sat on the bow and enjoyed the show for over 15 minutes.  They must have come across fish because in a moment, they were all gone.  During the second night, I saw some come along side the boat.  I remained in the cockpit, knowing our lack of speed would not hold their attention for long.

We slowed Hold Fast down and tried to keep her under six knots to allow an arrival at the anchorage at sunrise.  Sometimes when things work for you, they kind of work against you.  When we got into the St. Mary’s entrance, the tide was running in.  Myron kept bringing back the throttle, but we were speeding along at seven knots.  Finally we got out of the main tidal current, pulled the throttle back and slowed to less than three knots waiting for sunlight.  We dropped anchor just before 6:30 am and went to bed.

It is such a pleasure to be back at Cumberland Island, one of our favorite destinations.  Yay!  The weather is perfect for a stay here.  Even so, we plan on moving along to Sister’s Creek tomorrow and then an early (6:15 am) departure from there on Friday to make the FEC RR Bridge opening between 9 and 10 am.  Oy - that bridge!  It can be such a problem.  I will forget all about it once we get to pizza with the gang Friday night.

Those are days to come.  Right now it is time to enjoy some coffee, launch the dinghy, take a walk on the island and see if we can spy some ponies.

Love to all,
Dena

Posted via Mifi.
{GMST}30|45.508|N|081|28.492|W|Anchored|{GEND}

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Wrightsville Beach to Cumberland Island 4

Nice sunset tonight.
ETA: 6:30 AM tomorrow.
Myron

Posted via Ham Radio.
{GMST}31|30.305|N|080|37.269|W|Underway|{GEND}

Wrightsville Beach to Cumberland Island 3

We had a good night with the moon reflecting off the water.
Eta Wednesday morning.
Myron

Posted via Ham Radio.
{GMST}32|22.183|N|079|46.405|W|Underway|{GEND}

Wrightsville Beach to Cumberland Island 2

All is well nice night.
Myron

Posted via Ham Radio.
{GMST}32|52.821|N|079|14.610|W|Underway|{GEND}

Monday, November 3, 2014

Wrightsville Beach to Cumberland Island 1

We a are motor sailing in light conditions.
ETA Wednesday morning.
Myron

Posted via Ham Radio.
{GMST}33|47.710|N|078|06.380|W|Underway|{GEND}