Friday, March 17, 2017

Almost There

We planned our arrival to the boat yard for slack current, which was just before noon. After 11 am, we called the boat yard and confirmed our arrival. We were told to come straight to the dock, we were the only haul out today, except for an emergency lift for a vessel taking on water. The arrangements changed once we were tied up, then changed again. A boat was launched and is now between us and the haul out slip, and another boat has been hung for the night in the lift. The end result is that we will not be hauled today. So close, yet so far. We were told we will be hauled out tomorrow. We certainly hope so because there are no haul outs on Sunday or Monday.

We will get done what we can at the dock and deal with the oddities of this boat yard as calmly as possible. The stainless forward of the main mast has already been polished and waxed. Paul and Shari brought us lunch. Food is a great coping mechanism. The van started right up and the tires evened out when we went to pick up our mail and rent a movie.

When I get some time as well as decent internet, I will share more pictures.

Love to all,

{GMST}29°58.96'N|081°38.97'W|10:00 PM|{GEND}

Thursday, March 16, 2017


The wind kicked up again last night, which was fine as long as it was with the current. Once the current was against the wind, Hold Fast danced around her anchor, sometimes at 1.2 knots. She would reach the end of her leash, then turn around and race to the other extreme. The holding is so good, it did not bother us at all. We slept well under all the blankets.

We woke up to temperatures in the 30's F with a wind chill to 26F. Slightly painful on the hands washing down anchor chain. I am glad we were able to delay our departure until after 9 am in order to make a noon opening of the Main Street Bridge. As we moved around to pull up anchor this morning, a security boat cruised by, protecting the security zone around the naval fuel depot island. They soon dismissed us, recognizing that we were just a harmless sailboat chasing our anchor chain in the current.

Myron checked in with the Main Street Bridge and put us on the list for the 12 noon opening. As we were leisurely riding the current toward the bridge, they called us and asked us if we could hurry and they would open early for us. Really? All we could figure was that commercial traffic was coming as well and the bridge did not want to open twice. We stepped on it and called the bridge when we had it in sight, checking in again when adjacent to Metro. As we approached, the bridge opened well before our arrival. That has NEVER happened. There was no commercial traffic in sight. Auto Paul was on Gretel and met up with us before the Main Street Bridge. We were going to have him board between Main Street and FEC RR since FEC RR was down, but as we cleared Main Street Bridge, the FEC RR Bridge opened. Bizarre. To what did we owe this VIP treatment? We shall never know.

Paul boarded and we towed Gretel and visited. Then we came up with a scheme to surprise Shari. We anchored Hold Fast here in Plummer's Cove, then all got aboard Gretel, went in for a late lunch. After lunch we paid a surprise visit to Shari and her mom. Mission accomplished!

The boat yard has scheduled us to haul out tomorrow. Is it too much to ask for VIP treatment two days in a row? One can only hope.

Love to all,

{GMST}30°11.61'N|081°38.49'W|5:34 PM|{GEND}

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Back Water

We took advantage of the current and moved to Back Water. The plan is to go through the main street bridge at noon tomorrow.

{GMST}30°23.77'N|081°30.42'W|5:03 PM|{GEND}

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Through the Lions

We neglected to post yesterday. It was such a short day, New Smyrna to Daytona, I guess it did not seem important. We stopped in Daytona because we did not believe we could make Matanzas Inlet shoaling area with enough water.

Despite high and cold winds, a 7:15 am departure allowed us to make it to Matanzas Inlet with enough water left in the tide to negotiate the shoaled areas. The dredge was operating at full pressure. We are glad to see it. Wish they would work on the Ponce Inlet area.

We caught a break with the tide for a few hours, sufficient to push us to the Bridge of Lions in St. Augustine with 5 minutes to spare for the 3:30 pm opening.

I had on four layers today, including woolies. Plus my buff scarf and beanie. Welcome to north Florida in March. I think Saturday will be 76F.

My turn for the shower, gotta go.

Love to all,

{GMST}30°03.05'N|081°21.94'W|6:10 PM|{GEND}

Sunday, March 12, 2017

What? A Marina?

This morning we came to the realization that we were just not going to be able to leave early enough to beat the low tide at Ponce de Leon inlet. It was not worth an attempt to negotiate those shoaled areas during a negative tide. When life gives you lemons.

Our lemonade was to take a slip at New Smyrna Beach City Marina. We are thankful that, Pat, the dockmaster, is a good natured fellow. He helped us get backed into the slip so that we can have a less exciting departure tomorrow. Just after we got docked the weather turned sour with wind and rain. We were oh so glad to be here. During a lull, we explored the restaurants on Canal Street and ended up at Yellow Dog Eats. Pulled pork was available what seemed like hundreds of varieties. Yummy! Bonus: we have left overs. We met a Swedish immigrant couple at the restaurant that live near the yacht club, and now we have been invited to see them next time we come to New Smyrna! We also met Jim and Cindy on 'The Journey,' an American Tug completing the loop. They came into the marina just before us.

We are not sure when we will get to Green Cove Springs. Jacksonville is about to have 32F weather. Brrrr. While we are fine anchored out in that, it is not much fun to be underway. We will figure it out.

For now, we are full, safe, and sound. Seems like a recipe for a nap.

Love to all,

{GMST}29°01.63'N|080°55.25'W|5:03 PM|{GEND}

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Moving North

Anchored next to the NASA causeway.

{GMST}28°31.36'N|080°45.64'W|8:12 PM|{GEND}

Friday, March 10, 2017

Checked In

We left at midnight and began to wish we had left earlier. We fought a current coming off the banks that set us behind. Once in the Gulf Stream, we quickly made up that time and more, riding along well over 7 knots. When we were about 45 miles from the Ft. Pierce entrance, we got a small squall, but behind it was West wind, about 12 to 15 knots right on the nose. We began to get concerned whether we would make it into Ft. Pierce or whether we needed to come up with an alternative. Yet Hold Fast was still making progress and keeping a decent arrival time. We schedule our arrival for slack current at the inlet, which was 3:30 pm today. After beating into the west wind for 30 miles, it suddenly let up and came light out of the east. It was back to a beautiful day. We saw huge turtles, four different times as we approached the inlet. We are glad to see them because they eat jelly fish!

We are rafted with Shibumi, a CSY, at Vero Beach City Marina, we are checked in to the country, showered, and now looking for some grub. Then of course, rest!

Love to all,

{GMST}27°39.57'N|080°22.23'W|6:43 PM|{GEND}

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Mangrove Cay

Our plan is to stay at Mangrove till midnight then depart for Fort Pierce inlet and continue on Vero Beach.

{GMST}26°55.20'N|078°37.39'W|11:20 AM|{GEND}

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Great Sale

Other than a little uncomfortable rolling at the Whale Cay cut, we had a fabulous day. We made good time, leaving MOW Cay at 6:30 am and arriving the southern end of Great Sale Cay, via Jane Girl Cut, at 5:45 pm. We had cell phone coverage, data only, until Jane Girl Cut.

Time for some food and rest.

Love to all,

{GMST}26°57.42'N|078°13.28'W|6:23 PM|{GEND}

Off Fox Town

Very nice day in the Bahamas. Next stop Great Sale.
Cross to Fort Pierce on Friday.

{GMST}26°56.84'N|077°46.56'W|1:40 PM|{GEND}

Friday, March 3, 2017

Pic - Rock Sound and Exuma Sound

Hold Fast anchored at Poison Point for the day, before moving to the west side for another weather system passage:

Looking east at Hold Fast anchored at Poison Point:

The sun setting on us as we sail up the Exuma Sound overnight with a WSW wind:

Morning breaks while we are still making our way up the Exuma Sound.  Myron says the figure on the right looks like a bunny trying to eat the sun:

Bunny found out what happens when you eat the sun...your head melts.  Everybody knows that.

That is all for now.  Love to all,

Pics - East End Point, Eleuthera Island

More pics:

There is a beautiful semi-circle beach at East End Point, Eleuthera Island.  The conditions were just right for us to stay one night after fishing for the day.  Still some swell there, but tolerable to be alone with a view:

This point and extended reef protected us from most of the swell from the Exuma Sound:

One of the Princess cruise ships was anchored around the corner.  We could not see it from our anchorage and it left before sunset anyway:

A striking sunset, although no green flash:

Sunrise at our private anchorage.  You can barely see Little San Salvador Island in the gap of the rocks:

The morning sun peaks over the rocks that protect us from the Atlantic swell:

Only a completely calm anchorage let our anchor chain hang straight down and loop along the bottom:

Just a few more pics coming,

Pics - MOW Cay to Rock Sound

Open internet means you get pictures.

This is our mangled ballyhoo after something tore it apart on the Northeast Providence Channel crossing:

Leaving Royal Island Harbor early morning.  We have red skies in the morning ("sailor take warning"). We did and went straight to the west side of Rock Sound:

In lining up with Current Cut, we held back and let a tug and barge take the lead:

Tug and barge gets mid-cut before we commit ourselves to the run:

Tug and barge went to Rock Sound as well and anchored with the cruisers for protection:

The weather frames the cruising fleet:

After the bad weather, we are anchored back on the east side facing another beautiful day:

The third grade girls put on the 'Belt of Truth' at Bible Boot Camp, Rock Sound, Eleuthera Island:

Third grade and younger at Bible Boot Camp, Rock Sound.  Some are a bunch of hams!

More later,

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Record Time

Last night, the Northeast Providence Channel was a confused piece of water. On top of that, we had more traffic than usual: 5 or 6 cruiseliners and several cargo ships. I was off watch when I heard Myron speaking to a captain on another boat. I came up to see if I could help. It was another sailboat. A single hander coming up from Jost Van Dyke who wanted to round the corner of Eleuthera Island and get a nap near Egg Island. I spied his red port light, coming toward our green starboard light. We stayed in communication (he could receive AIS but not send), and depended upon our radar and his call of CPA (closest point of approach). Finally I began to see his green starboard light and we knew we would soon be passing starboard to starboard, at about 1/3 of a mile on a very dark night. When I heard his boat name, 'Moxie,' my mind immediately brought up a snapshot of a blue hulled sloop. Absent from that recall was where I had seen it. Myron asked if he was indeed a blue hulled boat and the guy perked up and said 'why yes!' We must have seen him in Georgetown or Long Island years ago. We wished him well and a good rest. The only traffic that required us to divert was a Carnival Cruise Line called 'Victory.' We ended up a mile east of our track. All other ships worked around us. AIS is nice to have.

I only saw one shooting star, and it was quite brilliant. Sometimes I wonder if it is not simply space junk falling out of the sky.

The redeeming factor of such a rough ride was the pace at which we were traveling. We left Current Cut at 11:45 pm and were on the mooring in Man O Way Cay less than 12 hours later. That includes traveling at reduced power when we made water once inside the cut. For the first half of the trip, our speed was over 7 knots. Around 5 am, we lost the bulk of our wind and our speed was under 7 but stayed above 6, our speed benefiting from being tossed northward by the seas. The Little Harbor Cut was doable, confirmed by three boats that had just come out. We got a nice surf in on one wave.

We arrived two hours earlier than planned and Barry just happened to be out near the mooring. We got a greeting from him, squared away the sails, showered, ate then slept for more than 5 hours. There are no plans for the remainder of the day except another meal and more sleep. Myron is already looking at weather windows for a Gulf Stream crossing. I am hoping for flat seas!

Love to all,

{GMST}26°35.42'N|077°00.11'W|6:08 PM|{GEND}