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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}

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