Thursday, April 30, 2015

Rockdedundy River (Georgia)

It turns out that Cumberland Island's north anchorage does not get many stars from us. I think the tidal current rips through there more than the south end, and the sounding are quite deep. We anchored in 27 feet, however as the winds changed, we were blown over into 45 foot depth. It is a big river so there was a fair amount of fetch when the winds changed on us. I think the biggest downside of the anchorage was that we could not figure out a place to go to shore. Further, we saw a watchman with a flash light apparently doing a patrol. It must be private property. The anchorage would do in a pinch, but not my favorite place.

Myron had been up since 2:30 am, when the anchorage got unpleasant. We lit out of there at 6:30 this morning, which we would have done even if we adored the place. We were trying to catch a half tide or better along Jekyll Island. Just north of the bridge near the Historical Marina, the depths are spooky at low tide.

The tide was going out when we got to St. Simon's Island, which slowed us down to under four knots. We like an anchorage on the north side of the town's fixed bridge, so we pulled in, dropped anchor, grabbed a few hours of sleep, then a lunch, and planned out the timing for a rising tide at Little Mud River. We had originally planned to anchor just short of Little Mud River tonight, but the opportunity to get that skinny stretch of water over with was too appealing. We had plenty of time so we set off at a leisurely pace and were even able to jib sail for quite some time and shut the motor off.

It was after 6 pm by the time we were through that gauntlet, we were good and ready to call it a day. We dropped anchor in this spacious body of water so oddly named 'Rockdedundy River.' We are better protected than last night, but I will warn other boaters. We came in with a tide of about a 6.6 foot above datum. About midway in, we crossed an area where the chart soundings showed 26 feet mean low water, however we went over a 12 foot bar. By our calculations, that bar would be 5.4 feet mean low water, something we would barely get over.

We just finished dinner and have already showered. When we anchored here, the winds were up near 20 knots, but have now died down to a breeze so Hold Fast should simply turn with the tide, rather than dance for six hours of the night. Even if the winds had not died down, we still felt quite protected here when the winds were up.

Love to all,

{GMST}31°22.40'N|081°20.86'W|4/30/2015|7:47 PM{GEND}

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

North End of Cumberland Island

We have an operational wash down pump again. It is not the new one, that repair did not take. We had an old Shur Flo pump in the inventory that is currently doing the job. I think the date on it was 1992.

Gloomy is the best word I can come up with for our stay the last couple of days. The weather forecast looks hopeful for sunnier days. I can deal with and am happy to have the cooler weather, but I miss the sun. We had rain yesterday and today.

We moved up here to the north end of Cumberland Island because we have always wondered about the anchorage. It is beautiful here and there is no interruption in the night sky from the naval submarine base. We have not yet figured out where to land a dinghy. Maybe on another stay we can sort all that out.

Love to all,

{GMST}30°53.71'N|081°26.76'W|4/29/2015|9:11 PM{GEND}

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A Few Things to Share

Hey all,

We slept peacefully last night with the winds almost calm.  Now the winds are out of the north and Hold Fast is doing her current against the wind dance.  We considered moving today but a pump failure and repair gone awry forced us to rest.  The epoxy repair on the pump should be ready to deal with in the morning.  I do not care if your boat is new or old, EVERYTHING breaks on a boat.  When the old pump quit yesterday, we figured no problem because we had a spare.  It was the brand new pump out of the box this morning that gave us trouble.  Oy!

We might move on tomorrow, preferably to the north end of Cumberland Island.  Hopefully the weather will not be too nasty during our travel. 

Myron said we need to use up our data on our phone plan by tonight.  What better way to chew up data bandwidth than with pictures?  I have a few here and the latest out on Picasa, the link on the right side of this blog.

Myron is a happy cappy, with a long spinnaker run on the Bahama banks:

Another tiny feathered friend joins us on the crossing and flew inside looking for bugs.  The little bitty thing is sitting atop a clothes pin.  Too difficult to identify the type of bird from the back end though!

This feathered friend just needed a perch (mizzen mast) for a few hours.  We believe it is in the gannet family.

As the day comes to an end and travelers are securing their boats for the night, I keep giggling about how people try to say "Fernandina Harbor Marina" three times real fast on the radio.  It is the little things in life.

Love to all,

Monday, April 27, 2015

Cumberland Island

It was another great stay in Jacksonville. We got to see so many of our friends. Eating seems to be a way to take time to visit, therefore we also got to eat at many wonderful places. We accomplished a number of projects. As always, Fred, Shari, Rich & Paulette and Richard were helpful in running us around town. Just before our first scheduled departure day, the oil temp/pressure alarm broke. When we went to get the replacement part at the nearby West Marine, Lorna had a Garmin chartplotter/radar on sale. It was a better price than we could get through IMarine. As a result, we accidentally bought a new chartplotter. Myron had the chartplotter installed by the afternoon. The radar, however, would be a bit more challenging. We set out to install that on Saturday, but discovered we did not have enough cable. None of the stores have the cable extension on hand and it will have to be ordered. The old radome has been removed. That radome worked just fine, it was our display that was going out. Paul and Shari are storing all the components (radome, display, cables, manuals) and we hope to sell it when we return in the fall. We stowed the new radome in the main cabin and plan to finish the project in Deltaville.

Today's trip was nothing too exciting. We planned for a 9 am opening of the Main Street Bridge, but it was already scheduled for an 8:30 opening. That meant we did not have the tidal current with us yet, but it joined us soon enough. We were near low tide once we turned onto Sister's Creek. We debated going outside, but the winds would have been right on our nose. A catamaran, 'Patchwork,' that went through the bridge the same time as us did go outside. They had AIS and we were curious about their progress, so we kept an eye on them. They were slightly faster than us on the St. John's, however when we passed the St. Mary's inlet on the inside, they were still an hour out. Glad we took the inside route today. Had we gone aground, I would not have been so happy. We came across two very shallow areas and on one of them, we hit ground twice. We thank God that Hold Fast kept going.just cleaning off the bottom of the boat.

We have said it so many times that you all must be tired of it, but: We love Cumberland Island! We will not launch the dinghy this afternoon, too tired. The forecast calls for rain beginning tonight and continuing tomorrow. We may get rained out and our stay may only include viewing the island from the boat. It is still beautiful either way.

It is a bit chilly, so the cockpit enclosure is secured. I think I may make some cookies to warm up the boat!

Love to all,

{GMST}30°46.10'N|081°28.26'W|4/27/2015|4:44 PM{GEND}

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

All the Way to Jacksonville

Our plan was to make our next post before noon today when at anchor at Pine Island. I had a surprise brunch menu planned. We had visions of big naps, a little reading of books, and a good night of sleep. But it was not to be.

Myron did a position report outside St. Augustine Inlet. Near 7:30 am I was able to reach a captain with BoatUS and get local knowledge for entering that inlet from the sea buoy. It was basic enough and got us through. We pulled up to Inlet Marine and made the call to check in to the country. It was at this point that our plans blew apart.

In the same year that we got our Local Boaters Option numbers, Myron also got a new passport. Unknown to me, Myron's old passport was used for his LBO, and the old passport expired this year. As a result, we were told Myron had to present himself in person in the next 24 hours to a designated Custom's office and get his LBO updated. Not a new number, just update the information on the same old number. The guy on the phone was telling me that the LBO is like having a social security number. It never changes. I disagree. You do not have to update your social security number. We asked for more than 24 hours, since it would take us at least 36 to secure the boat and get a ride to one of the designated offices. Nope. It is the law, federal law, I was told.

We ran through many, many alternate solutions. I was bugging Shari on the phone with a few of the possibilities. Finally Myron and I settled on pressing from St. Augustine to be at OYCM in Jacksonville today and get a ride to the Jacksonville Custom's office tomorrow. Fred has generously agreed to take us there.

Since we no longer had the luxury of timing the tidal current for the St. John's River, we powered, and at the end sailed, against the current and timed the Main Street Bridge for 6 pm, the first opening after the weekday commute shut down. We got to OYCM at 7 pm and good buddies were waiting to grab our lines. Paul and Shari were there, John on Sarah, Nicole came and helped, as well as Fred on Compass Rose. Jimmy pointed to us as we were motoring by and Spot (Jack Russell) must have recognized us because he barked the whole time we came in. Such a cutie! It was a great homecoming that helped melt away the frustration of adding so many hours to what we thought was the end of our difficult trip. Paul and Shari even brought us some food, including a fried chicken dinner. We have taken our 'Hollywood' showers, munched down some chicken, coleslaw and tortillas. We can both feel exhaustion grabbing hold and know that it will soon get the better of us. We are having trouble being articulate with each other. I hope you can comprehend this post!

Some of the trip was difficult. I think that is the meanest I have seen the Gulf Stream yet. At times it was so rough, it became more of a contact sport between me and the boat. I was thanking God that neither of us get seasick.

But what I really wanted to write about is that, while some of the trip was difficult, and certainly that phone call at the end, some of the trip was fantastic. Like the spinnaker across the banks for ten hours. We also had more hitchhikers. I need to check the picture of the birds, but we had several more little birds (at different times) looking for bugs and gladly taking some water. The one I got the most time with, his weight was indistinguishable when he jumped across my feet or my hands. He went into the cabin and searched all over for bugs; I mean any open cubby or locker. I had to be careful not to step on him because he would get down on the floor and look under things. I really should save some fly carcasses in a bottle so I have something to feed these little travelers. We also had a bird that reminded me of the boobies we would see in the Sea of Cortez. Boobies are in the gannet family. Night was falling and it really wanted to be at the top of the mizzen. After 15 minutes of fly bys, he was perched. I was OK with it, but did not relish the idea of cleaning up the mizzen sail, deck, solar panels, or anything else that large bird could crap on from up there. He was very conscientious though and flew away to do his business and then came back and landed. He has my vote and is welcome back anytime. The dolphins were great too. The swells were pretty large and you could see the dolphins surfing inside the swell next to the boat. Then when the timing was right, they would surf off the swell and jump into the bow wake and surf it. It was like our boat was a temporary toy in their ocean size amusement park. Let's face it, you cannot watch dolphins and be cranky. And I thank God that we did not have any squalls or thunderstorms.

Silver linings. We all have some.

Love to all,

{GMST}30°16.49'N|081°42.94'W|4/7/2015|9:00 PM{GEND}

St. Augustine

We are 4 miles from St. Augustine.

{GMST}29°51.55'N|081°12.64'W|4/7/2015|7:07 AM{GEND}

Monday, April 6, 2015

Great Sale to St. Augustine 3

All is good.
ETA St. Augustine tomorrow morning.

{GMST}28°50.11'N|080°22.26'W|4/6/2015|5:18 PM{GEND}

Great Sale to St. Augustine 2

We had some birds visit, pictures to come.

ETA St. Augustine still Tuesday morning.

{GMST}27°55.82'N|079°38.77'W|4/6/2015|7:40 AM{GEND}

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Great Sale to St. Augustine

We left Great Sale around 2 PM in light winds, we put the spinnaker up and are having a great sail.
ETA St. Augustine Tuesday morning.

{GMST}27°09.66'N|078°45.19'W|4/5/2015|8:40 PM{GEND}

Friday, April 3, 2015

Great Sale Cay

While we were in route today, I was imaging Barb and Barry getting underway from Florida in that rather large motor vessel and that maybe we would see them here at Great Sale Cay. I could also imagine that things were not ready to the crew's liking and they would miss the current weather window to come east. I am not overly hopeful of seeing them here. If I were them and I left today, I would push on past Great Sale Cay and try to get through the Whale Cay Cut before it gets closed out from the forecasted big winds. Either way, we will see them next season, Lord willing.

It was an easy 44 miles today. We started early. Based upon the forecast, the winds would die out today and our best attempts at sailing would be in the am. We arrived here before 1 pm and are currently the only vessel here. That is a first for us. So we picked a spot we thought would have good holding, some protection from NW, N, NE, E and SE winds, and still get a view of the blood moon tomorrow morning. The full lunar eclipse will occur after the moon has gone below our horizon, but we will see some of the rare and spooky event. That is if the clouds do not interfere.

We are still uncertain as to the day of our departure from here. Once we get going, you will get position reports.

Love to all,

{GMST}26°59.29'N|078°12.88'W|4/3/2015|1:29 PM{GEND}

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Powell Cay

As always, we had a great stay at MOW Cay. For the first part of our stay, we were moored at the far end of the eastern harbor, surrounded by our Nova Scotian friends. At the end of our stay, we moved to a mooring near the opening of the eastern harbor, next to Barb and Barry.

We used up the remainder of the mahi at dinners with Barb and Barry and also at Jan and Jay's. Jan and Jay showed us a new method of BBQ'g the mahi, something I will repeat should we catch more. Jay marinated the fish in sour orange, and then Jan coated it in pepper and mayonnaise. I coated a few in mayonnaise mixed with dry wasabi which was also a big hit. Jan patiently taught me her method for cooking peas and rice, so I have decided I will give it another try at some point in the future. Maybe if we catch some fish?

We got to visit friends at church on Sunday and watch a play by the high school kids on Wednesday. Myron and I got a few pretty good laughs out some of their lines, plus it had a very good message. Uncle Willard gave us a tour of his garden. Myron's diagnosis was a need for more nitrogen. We bought the last bag of 10-10-10 on the shelf for him during our day trip to Marsh Harbor.

We bid goodbye to Barb and Barry this morning, who were also preparing to fly back to the states to assist in the delivery of a 65' motor vessel donated to the Hope Town Sailing Club. I imagine they were already in Florida on the boat before we made it to Powell Cay. It would be a kick if we saw them in the boat going the other direction as we sail toward the states.

Powell Cay is pretty. The wind has gone slightly south of east, bringing a mild swell around the cay. I am probably only noticing it because we have been in a well protected harbor for over a week. There is one power boat and eight other sail boats with us in this large anchorage. We chose not to launch the dinghy, but rather lounge around and use up the last bit of our telephone data service. Myron is checking weather. We were looking at winds of 20 to 25 knots and some angry seas, but the wind forecast keeps decreasing, making our day of departure uncertain.

Love to all,

{GMST}26°53.86'N|077°28.86'W|4/2/2015|6:31 PM{GEND}