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November 2008

Week One:

We are now traveling in convoy (flotilla - in sail speak). Two monohulls, one cat and one trawler and we are enjoying the company. Spent a night at Jekyll Island marina where we were able to borrow bikes to visit the rest of Jekyll Island. The historic district was beautiful. Unfortunately we didn't experience the best of the beach as it was very cool and windy. However, our companions Bill and Anna Marie, who'd been to Jekyll before, arranged for the Jekyll Island Club (Hotel) to send a van to pick us up and take us back to the hotel for a very delightful breakfast. Decadence indeed! Jekyll Island was owned by some of Americas elite. A lovely place to visit.  Our tummies full, we set off across St. Simon's sound heading for Cumberland Island. Hmmm, with gusty 25 knot breezes and a beam sea the breakfast didn't sit too well and we were all pleased to round the corner and get into a little protection. Once we got into the Brickhill river we saw wood storks in the trees and otters playing in the water. Still very windy!

We love Cumberland Island for it's beach, nature and the magical appeal of the flora and fauna. Our idea was to dinghy ashore in the morning and walk over to the ocean side of the island, so the girls could pick up shells etc. Unfortunately we were stopped short by a man walking towards us with a rather large rifle in his hand. It appears we chose the wrong time to go ashore. The wilderness portion (where we were anchored) of the island was closed for 3 days for a boar and deer hunt. Feeling dejected, all seven of us sat upon the steps of George Carnegie's flamboyant home......whereupon a docent by the name of Bernie, invited us inside for a special "sorry sailor" tour! What a delight it was. Bernie happened to have been caretaker of the house for some 5 years and knew all there was to know about it. 

Nov. 4th - OBAMA won! What an historic moment! One of us (guess who) stayed up to watch the event.

The following morning we left Brickhill Creek (or I should say tried to leave). We ran aground and spent 10 minutes freeing ourselves with the wonderful guidance of Bill on Sunshine. Perhaps we should get a Cat too! He breezed on by sounding out the depths for us - what a trouper! Thanks Bill. 

Another night at anchor! Pine Island was good, perhaps that's because we had another party aboard. However the no see-um's decided to join us and that put a stop to the activities. An early departure saw us arriving at the Oyster Creek marina in St. Augustine early Friday morning. as soon as the dock lines were set it was all action. We had project after project to complete, or start at any rate. Laundry on the go, bilge pump to fix, head (hate that word) to fix, deck light to replace.....and the list goes on. In the evening we stopped to partake in the local festivities, a great rib barbeque at the dock and then the girls (Vanessa, Patty & Anna Marie) went into town for the "Art Walk".

Jekyll Island beach

Hotel in the Historic District

Church in Historic district

Andrew on the loaner bike. Jekyll Club

Another majestic home

Breakfast inside the Jekyll Club hotel

The hunter who shooed us off Cumberland Island

George Carnegie's residence on Cumberland Island

Iglenook fireplace at Carnegie residence

Fuse box

Vanessa and Bernie, the caretaker

The knitter at work

Another fish and chip evening courtesy of chef Andrew

Ribaque! Oyster Creek marina



Week Two:

St. Augustine's visit was all too quick. Andrew did make short work of the "projects" thank goodness. Vanessa borrowed a bosun's chair and went up the mast and fitted the almost new deck light, (after sifting through tons of secondhand fittings at the sailor's exchange, purchased for a good price - that makes a change!)  then she went up Sunshine's mast and added a few lines there. A quick stop at the grocery store and we were on our way to Fort Matanzas. We had a very pleasant day walking the beach, finding treasure (fishing rod and reel, see messy picture! Turned out to be trash!) and visiting the Fort.

Our next anchorage was at Seabreeze (between the bridges), Daytona. This worked out well and we went ashore and walked into Old Town. That was not a good sight. The economic crisis was noticeable. The area had been recently revamped but most of the shops were empty and the few that were in business had sale signs up, but not a soul in sight to buy anything.  On our way back to the boat we stopped at "Carribean Jack's" for a little libation (that's the truth - a little!) and we were treated to a magic show by a retired naval veteran, Charky.

The following day we headed for Rockhouse Creek. Dave left us early as he was going to Titusville to visit friends. We had a slow 13 mile cruise, a walk on the moon (see picture), a chat with several kayakers, cocktails aboard Sunshine and another full day of relative relaxation. I say relative because as luck would have it after we had gotten cozy in the salon and the sun had gone down, suddenly, out of the blue, headlights were shining on us. The anchorage at this point was busy and low and behold we more company. Of course they anchored too close to us and Andrew had a few words with them to no avail. Fortunately all was fine and we managed to sleep soundly, but we didn't appreciate the closeness or stubbornness of a fellow sailor.

November 13th, one day, seven hours and 45 minutes to take off! We have arrived at our anchorage to view the expected "Endeavour" space shuttle launch. The winds are howling 20 knots from the southeast, and we have taken some protection from the NASA Causeway bridge. We can see the shuttle with our binoculars.....exciting stuff, if it takes off! Had visitors this afternoon, Cory and Linda on "Live Wire" whom we met at Vero last year. They've been here for a day or two already. No doubt we'll have a lot more company tomorrow. 

What a spectacle! Almost perfect conditions, a full moon, few clouds and unobstructed viewing. We heard the roar, we felt the shudder, we were in awe! Quite surreal. This was supposedly the last night launch ever. We feel fortunate to have seen it firsthand.

Now we are off to Vero Beach for a few days on a mooring ball.

Daytime view of KSC. Look hard on right of building to see the launch pad.

Endeavour space shuttle Nov 14th, 7:55pm. The last night launch.

Fort Matanzas

Where's dinner?

Andrew, Dave, Anna Marie and Bill. Beach at Fort Matanzas

Park interpreter at Fort.

A messy job. Thankfully nothing to do with the boat!

Magic Charky entertaining us at Carribean Jack's, Daytona.

Bridge artwork, Daytona Beach.

On the moon...Rockhouse creek anchorage.

Kayaking group, Rockhouse anchorage

Somewhere over the - you know the rest!


Week Three:

It's still COLD! We left the NASA causeway bridge early Saturday morning to make Vero beach the same day. It was a long day but well worth it and the weather cooperated. The following day was cold and windy/gusty/blustery.....see where I'm going. We are now sitting on a mooring ball rafted to Sunshine and Canvasback Too. Andrew has been busy sewing and repairing stuff. We both got flu shots and I spent a day feeling like I had the flu! Vero is a great place to sit for a while. There is a free bus that takes you to the beach and the stores, Walmart and West Marine included. There's also a theatre within walking distance. We purchased tickets for the opening night of "Souvenirs", a true story about a wealthy American woman who couldn't sing for the life of her, but managed to appear at Carnegie Hall playing to a packed house. We went to see the show with Bill and Anna Marie after a very pleasant dinner at the Riverside Cafe.  Andrew was so satisfied with his dinner and alcoholic beverages that he needed a nap. Need I say more. For those of you who know us well....you know the nap lasted until the end of the show. At least he woke up to enjoy the champagne reception afterwards!

Our week has gone by quickly. We met several other cruisers and hope to buddy boat across to the Bahamas with some of them. The cruising community here is great. Lots of people to meet and lots of "harbor talk" too.

The wind is still blowing hard out of the north and we cannot cross the Gulf Stream until the wind comes somewhere other than the north. We listen to the weather forecast every morning in the hopes of hearing that there is a change to south or west winds ............ but not yet.

Hoping to be in the Abacos soon.


Week Four:

We've been doing last minute shopping for our trip and completing projects. There are so many little hideaways in which to store "stuff" that it'll be difficult trying to find anything!  This is the moment for hiring the clutter closet maids. Tea bags are in all sorts of different spots and rice is packed everywhere 'cos it fills in the gaps. I did try to be organized, (veggies and soups in one place etc.) but it's just not working out too well.

We had a cocktail meeting to see if any more boats wanted to "buddy up". We only expected a couple more people and we were surprisingly swamped. Any excuse to have a few cocktails!!! It turned out to be a bit chaotic with all the "harbor talk" but we did  exchange cards and info with several other Bahamas bound hopefuls.

On Tuesday night we bid farewell to our traveling companions SUNSHINE and Canvasback Too, along with Live Wire II (Corey & Linda). We left Vero with our Bahamas buddies, Patty and Ray on Reflection (a trawler) and Patti and Emery on Honeywind (a trimaran) on Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, to anchor the night in Faber Cove just south of the Fort Pierce inlet. The following day we left the inlet early (6:30am) and made an outside trip down to the Lake Worth inlet, missing several bridges and also giving us the chance to navigate the inlet during the day and see what was in store for our very early departure in the dark on Friday. All went well until we tried to enter the anchorage. There were many boats and we, the lead boat, just turned off the ICW at a bad spot...whoops...we're aground. "Hey guys don't follow us".  Not hard aground though...phew! In a couple of minutes we were off and anchoring for the night. I cooked a lovely roast and Andrew gave Thanks!

Friday, 3:30am.....all awake and ready to go. Once out of the inlet it was a breeze. The sun came up shortly after we entered the Gulf Stream and what a beautiful sight it was. Light winds out of the NE (no wind really), almost flat seas the whole way. We never really felt the pull of the stream or saw anything unusual with the waters. We did see tons of flying fish and a large pod of dolphins and also the occasional sports fishing vessel. Our depth sounder gave out at 475 feet. We arrived on the Little Bahama Banks, Memory Rock at 1pm, whereupon Andrew promptly caught his largest catch ever....nasty looking creature, think it was a barracuda.  Not on the menu! The depth sounder was back in action and the water was crystal clear! "We be jammin' mon". No time to celebrate as the weather is due to change in a couple of days and we need to get to safe harbor so we then set a course for Mangrove Cay, some 25 miles further on. We had a fantastic motorsail, sat on the bow with a cocktail and let the autopilot guide us, and then dropped the hook at sundown. So nice to see the anchor and chain in 15ft of water.

One finished project. Of course there's another set!

Sunset Faber Cove


Dolphins on the bow. Oceanside, Ft. Pierce to Lake Worth

Sunrise in the Gulf Stream

What a crossing!

Interesting route across.

Oh, quarantined!

Fresh catch of the day - what is it?

Close to sunset on the banks. Mangrove Cay in the distance.