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  As a result, our update is almost outdated.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}

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Coca and ICW

Our trip from MOW Cay to Fort Pierce was mostly uneventful. It was no 'Shari Sailing' for sure, and we have not had many of those days this season. We were banking on the forecast for winds moving quickly to the NE, right about the time we were to round the corner at Crab Cay. But no joy on that, which is why we anchored at Coopers Town and waited out the westerlies. Once the winds went NW, we pulled up anchor and carried on. We had to slog into wind and seas for just over three hours until we could turn further south at Fox Town and put up the main sail. Slog is my technical term for running the boat straight into the wind and seas and doing an unimpressive 3.5 to 4 knots. With that behind us, we strategized on the next required change of winds to the northeast. Myron re-worked our route to use Great Sale Cay as a bailout if we needed to wait yet again for a wind change. The Lord answered our prayers and just at the bottom of Great Sale Cay, the winds went east of north and we could change our heading to about 290 degrees and even put the jib on the outside as we headed toward the exit of the banks called 'Little Bahama Bank.' The winds continued to clock eastward and lighten. We were supposed to have 3 to 4 foot seas with a 7 second interval in the Gulf Stream, with an occasional 5 foot seas. What we saw was regular 4 to 5 foot seas with about 5 second interval, more than occasional 7 foot seas, and once we had a set of waves that must have been over 9 feet. I estimated the height based upon my view of the crest of the wave being blocked by the hard top as I sat in the center cockpit. I watched in awe and partly wondering whether it would break on Hold Fast. I should have called out to Myron as the force of the waves through him into a bulk head. One of the sail slides separated from the sail at the second to the top batten before we could get another reef in the main. More stuff to fix. Things improved as they always do when we exit the Gulf Stream, and soon enough we were in at Fort Pierce and it was all over. We got our fuel, checked in over the phone, ate, showered and slept great. We had a hiccup in the internet part of the phone service, which entailed several phone calls with customer service, but, happy day, it is working as of Sunday.

We had an interesting sight while we were still on the banks. At first we thought it was an airliner making a jet trail. Looking more closely we realized it was a rocket launch from Cape Canaveral. (Yes, I still call it Canaveral. Old school.) We had a good view of the separation of the stages. I asked Myron if those things falling off the rocket were going to land on or near us. It had me worried, I asked more than once. I wondered if they thought the northern Bahama banks were uninhabited enough to let stuff fall from the sky. At first they looked like stars in the twilight. Once one of them fell beyond the rays of the sun, it was glowing red. One boater made a radio call that he thought he saw a red flare and wanted to know if a boater was in distress.

Today we slogged against north winds on the intercoastal waterway. At least we can keep up our speed on the ICW and we can keep moving toward our destination. We have not been on this ICW for a while and we enjoy some of the sights and all the variety of sea and bird life. It is nice to anchor every night for a good night's rest. We had several sea gulls and one tern drafting behind the boat and picking goodies out of our wake. Not sure what they were eating, but they did it for hours. As long as we and Hold Fast can handle it, we will keep this quick pace to get to Jacksonville. See many of you soon.

We just listened to a USCG urgent marine weather warning for strong NE winds tonight and very big seas both near shore and in the Gulf Stream. It is good to be at anchor!

Love to all,

{GMST}28°20.99'N|080°43.04'W|3/6/2016|6:18 PM{GEND}

Saturday, March 5, 2016

In at Fort Pierce

We arrived at 2:30 no problems checking in. We fueled up and are ready to head to Coco tomorrow.

{GMST}27°27.42'N|080°18.19'W|3/5/2016|4:08 PM{GEND}

Position Update

Approaching Little Bahama Bank way point.
ETA Fort Pierce 3 PM today.

{GMST}27°04.22'N|079°00.42'W|3/5/2016|3:05 AM{GEND}

Friday, March 4, 2016

Off Fox Town

We are off Fox Town en route to Fort Pierce FL. It has been a little slow going against left over wind chop from the westerly.
ETA Fort Pierce tomorrow night.

{GMST}26°56.90'N|077°47.44'W|3/4/2016|4:39 PM{GEND}

Coopers Town

We are temporarily anchored off of Coopers Town, waiting for the winds to be more favorable to continue on to Fort Pierce. Currently winds are out of about 265 magnetic forecasted to be north by evening.

At least we are getting internet here!

{GMST}26°52.34'N|077°30.43'W|3/4/2016|11:33 AM{GEND}

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Near End of our Stay

Our weather window just closed on us for a nice long week of easterlies.  If it is too good to be true, it is probably not true...We will do what we can with what weather we have and leave rather soon.

In the meantime, enjoy pictures (photo gallery link to the right, new file is 01.29.16 Eleuthera Island) of our time at Eleuthera Island.

There were several opportunities to buy lobster at Rock Sound.  Some lobster were quite large:

Snack time at Bible camp:

Kyanno, a 6th grader, at our last night at church.  He plays the drums and is teaching himself to play the trumpet.

We already miss Pastor Bradley and Sister Kayla:

Love to all,