Friday, November 30, 2018

St. Augustine, Day 2

When Linda gets up she is still having reoccurring issues with vertigo and balance, especially when she first gets up in the morning. Not good to have anytime, but even more so on a boat. We decide to go to the local Hospital ER and get her checked out. They did a CATSCAN. Did not find any issues. She has not been needing to take ginger capsules her normal cure for motion sickness. They prescribe two other medicines for the vertigo.

Our friends Mark and Karen get into St. Augustine in the afternoon. We all go out to Harry’s Seafood. Linda and I again split their Shrimp and Grits which are very good. We call it an early evening so Mark and Karen can get to bed early.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

St. Augustine

Our friends Mark and Karen left Beaufort, South Carolina this morning to sail overnight to St. Augustine. They had to haul their boat for a couple days there to make a repair on their drive shaft packing.

Finally a relatively warm morning and a fairly slack tide to get off the dock. Two of the boats leave just ahead of us.

Container Ship heading up the St.Johns river to Jacksonville

We cross the St. Johns River and soon pass under another bridge having some work done. Unfortunately a few days ago our friends Jack & Ann had their mast light and VHF antenna damaged snagging the bridge covering hanging under the bridge. This cover lowered clearance by 3 feet and they went through right at an exceptionally high, high tide. The bridge was being sand blasted and it sounded like a jet airplane immediately over head as we passed underneath.

A pleasant day for a change. We get through the “Bridge of Lions” at 1:30 PM. Should of made the 1:00 opening by my timing was off and we had a short wait. We pickup our mooring at 1:15PM.

Bridge of Lions, St. Augustine

We head into the marina to pay our bill and take showers. Later we head into town to have dinner at the “Latin Kitchen”. We have eaten there before and dinner again was very good. I should of quit there, but we decided to split a desert. They mentioned a new desert, “Avocado Crème brûlée”, so I thought it had to be good since it sounded kind of disgusting. I should of stuck with my first impression, even without it being green, it was more green pudding than Crème brûlée.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Jacksonville Free Dock

Still windy in the morning, but the wind has shifted to the north instead of the west which had been funneling down the west to east entrance to the marina, which would of made it harder to negotiate the tight spacing between docks.
We leave for a short day to the Jacksonville Free Docks with the wind on our backs. With full vinyl and sun we are quite warm in the enclosure. I was expecting not to see any boats at the dock since we arrived around 1:30. We were surprised to see 3 other boats already tied up. People from some of the other boats come over to grab our lines and help us tie up. After a late lunch we go for a walk. By evening we have had long conversations with all our dock mates. One young couple, had their mast damaged in St. Augustine on the dock when a large motor yacht went by creating a large enough wake that their mast rocked over enough to hit the floating dock pilings. The boat immediately behind us had Burlington Vermont on its stern, but it has been years since the boat was there. Another couple from Arizona divides their time between their coach RV and their sailboat.
Jacksonville Free dock, through the vinyl

Since it is still cool and there is no power at this dock, we make a pizza to warm up the boat.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Amelia Island, Day 2

Windy day
Another cold and windy day. Linda does laundry and I replace the engine belt and water filter. We signed out the loaner car for two hours at noontime. Still finishing up with laundry so we don’t leave until 12:30, eliminating time to stop for lunch. We run through Publix with Linda’s shopping list and pick up Rottela (diesel oil at Walmart) return the car just after 2:00 PM. We have a quick lunch at the “Galley, Bar and Grill” at the end of our dock. Then back on the boat Linda catalogs and puts food away, while I make the bed and put clothes away.

Linda does some more interior cleaning with “Mold Armour”. We learned about this product on our first trip through Florida. A closed up boat gets condensation on the interior surface when the weather is cool and mold starts to eventually grow. “Mold Armour” removes the mold and leaves a film that prevents its return for quite a while. 
Our Dock

Bill comes back for another visit after dark and the three of us go to the “Galley” for dinner. We all get the same pulled pork dinner. Obviously it was very good, one of their specialties. The Galley just has some radiant heaters so we were well dressed for dinner. Some of the diners had stuffed napkins in some of the gaps in the windows that can open, to cut down on the interior  breeze.

We have another cold night in the low 40’s, but warm for us plugged in at the dock.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Amelia Island Yacht Basin

Short trip this morning to Amelia Island where my cousin Bill and his wife Debbie lives. Had planned to leave early, but rain and a thunderstorm rolls through the area and we wait until 10:00 AM until it passes. We leave, but it started raining briefly, again. It looks like the rain will stop for the next hour or so to make it to the Amelia Island Yacht Basin. 

One of many sailboats still high and dry around Fernandina
We motor along slowly, because the alternator belt is slipping and squealing at normal cruising speed. I will change the belt tomorrow. 

As we get to the marina and head to the fuel dock it starts raining again, then thunder and lightning. We decide to leave the boat and wait out the storm in the marina office instead of on the fuel dock. After this storm passes we fuel up and pumpout the holding tank. 

My cousin Bill stops by and after another stop in the rain, helps us get to boat off the fuel dock so I can take it to our slip. The fuel dock is poorly located and it is rather difficult to get the boat turned around, to motor to the slip in this wind. We visit for a couple hours and later he and his wife Debbie picks us up to go out to dinner where we meet his sister, my other cousin, Jan. Had some very good Shrimp and Grits for dinner.


Sunday, November 25, 2018

Cumberland Island, Plum Orchard

Sunday we have pancakes for breakfast. Then went ashore and rode bikes 5 miles north to Plum Orchard from the Ranger Station. Another cloudy dreary day, but at least it is not suppose to rain. 

Little girl next to her big bike

Plum Orchard, front yard

Plum Orchard

Plum Orchard is one of the mansions built on Cumberland island for the children of the Carnegie family. The Park service restored it for tours at a cost of 15 million dollars. Interesting bit of history on how the Mega-wealthy lived at the turn of the century. The long bike ride on ill fitting bikes turned out not to be a lot of fun for Linda. 

View south, Pulp Mill on Amelia Island, Fernanadina, Floridia


Saturday, November 24, 2018

Cumberland Island

It rains hard all night, at least 4 inches. We wake up to a very foggy morning. No one is leaving and a few boats pull into the Marina face dock from the ICW to wait for the fog to lift. It does not lift and boats start leaving and disappearing into the fog.
Craig & Amy, Jack & Ann

We visit with Craig and Amy from Mystic, Connecticut and get a tour of their Robinhood 33 trawler. Very nice boat. 

"Blue Breeze" into the soup

We help Jack and Ann cast off in the fog. We finally decide to leave although the visibility has not improved much. Listening on the VHF, people are complaining about some close calls with other boats appearing out of the fog. I decide to take an alternate route off the ICW further from the ocean and the shallow bar that the ICW passes over in St Andrews sound. I heard one other boater on the VHF taking that route. 

My buoy spotter

Be careful out there

We proceed slowly watching for the next buoy to appear out of the fog. We do not see any other boats on this route and have plenty of depth along the whole route. Kind of spooky navigating through this soup. We can see waves breaking on the adjacent shoals on our route. 

Our Alternate route (Purple), ICW ocean route on the right

As we finally rejoin the ICW the fog starts to lift, just after noontime. We get to Cumberland Island anchorage around 3 PM. 


Friday, November 23, 2018

Jekyll Island, Black Friday

Jack and Ann planned to leave today, but with the high wind warnings and rough conditions they decide to stay another day. Between Jekyll Island and Cumberland Island to the south the ICW veers out on the ocean before it swings back behind Cumberland Island making for a rough passage under these conditions. Because of the high northeast winds and the full moon, high tides are running 1-2 feet higher than normal. We get one of the Marina golf carts to make a run to the local market. We get back to the boat and it starts raining. 

My projects for the day is changing the engine oil and the transmission fluid. Also I modify the engine air intake filter connecting it directly to the crankcase ventilation hose to burn crank case vent vapors. 

We all have a late lunch/early dinner at Zachary’s Riverhouse, a restaurant at the Marina. The restaurant is rather crowded and the food is very good. We finish the rainy evening playing cards on Blue Breeze.
Blue Breeze

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Jekyll Island, Thanksgiving

Leaving Fort Frederica
Another early morning departure and we get to Jekyll Island Marina by 10:15 AM. We walk across the island, about a mile wide at this point to a complex of shops, restaurants and hotels near the beach. We initially started out on the marina's loaner bikes, but decided it was safer walking.  We find an Irish Pub that is open for dinner and even has a turkey dinner special. 

Atlantic side of Jekyll Island

Ann on the bow of "Blue Breeze" coming into the dock

High tide at the beach
Inside of face dock at Jekyll Island Marina

Walking back after dinner

Game Night
By the time we get back to the marina Jack and Ann are pulling in to the dock. Later in the afternoon we walk over to the Irish Pub for “Thanksgiving dinner”. Only Ann gets the Turkey dinner. They have a very interesting menu and we all have something different. Back on the boat we play cards after dinner.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Fort Frederica

We leave early around 7:00 AM ahead of Blue Breeze. We are heading to Fort Frederica on St. Simonds Island off the ICW and is going to anchor next to the ICW. The following night we will be at the same Marina at Jekyll Island. We start off with a nice sunrise and again have a heavy dew to wipe of the vinyl windows in our dodger. We enjoy our last two donuts from Thunderbolt Marina. 

Blue Breeze anchored in Kilkenny Creek in the morning

Cool, but sunny all day. Our problem shallow area for today is “Mud River”which we passed through just at low tide. Our lowest reading was 6.1 feet. A little later after “Mud River” we bump the bottom at a spot that supposedly has 7 feet of depth at low tide, which was an hour ago. I wasn’t even watching the depth gauge, not expecting a problem. We were moving a cruising speed and with the momentum of the boat and flat bottom wing keel ,just slid up and over this “hump”. 

We get to Fort Frederica around 3:30 and I quickly anchor and get the dinghy down to head to the Park Service dock.


Fort Frederica National Monument is on the Frederica River which parallels the ICW . There was a British Fort and town there prior to the American Revolution, around 1740, an outpost, to prevent the Spanish in Florida from moving into Georgia which was a no-mans land between British South Carolina and Spanish Florida.  In 1763, France, Britain, and Spain signed the Treaty of Paris at the end of the French and Indian War. Spain gave up Florida and Britain removed the troops stationed there and the town quickly died a few years later.

Remains of Fort Frederica

We get to the visitor center before closing and get to see a movie about Fort Frederica. Then after touring the grounds we head back to the boat for dinner.


Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Kilkenny Creek

I get up early to walk through the Thunderbolt Marina to check out all the Mega-Yachts that are being serviced there. I first help cast off the lines of “Privateer” a Kadey-Krogen Trawler.
The couple on this boat will be in the Bahamas Land and Sea Park at Cambridge as Hosts collect the mooring fees for the Land and Sea Park. The Land and Sea Park relies mostly on volunteers. 

After they leave I walk by the 7 or 8 Mega-Yachts having various things done to them. One, is in their huge building that has three separate bays that can each hold a 300 foot yacht. 

After they leave I walk by the 7 or 8 Mega-Yachts having various things done to them. One, is in their huge building that has three separate bays that can each hold a 200 foot yacht.

When I get back Linda and I head over to Jack and Ann’s boat “Blue Breeze” for Breakfast. We bring half the makings and have a very good breakfast prepared by Jack. One of the features of Thunderbolt is they leave a box of 6 Krispy Kream donuts on each transient boat early in the morning. Good thing we were the only two boats here this morning or I would of gotten up real early and collected a few boxes off other boats.

"Blue Breeze" leaving Thunderbolt Marina

We leave around 11:00 AM on another cool cloudy day. We reach Hell Gate around 1:30 and slowly pass through. Our lowest reading just before the exit was 5.1 feet. We draw 4.8 and Blue Breeze draws 5.1, but we make it though without any bumps. 

The winds are light, so there was just a moderate chop on the water south of Hell Gate Three years ago it was blowing quite hard out of the Northeast and we were sailing near hull speed on just our jib. Both wearing full foul weather gear to stay warm. Today was much more comfortable.

Kilkenny Creek, Blue Breeze & Manana

Get to Kilkenny Creek about 2 miles off the ICW and drop the anchor. Beautiful views over the surrounding marshes. After dinner we dinghy over to Blue Breeze for cards.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Thunderbolt, Savannah

Anchor is up at 8:15 and we are on our way in another dreary overcast day. We want to get to Thunderbolt by noontime to spend the afternoon in Savannah. By mid morning the sun comes out and the day starts looking good. 

As we motor through Fields Cut there is one buoy that forces boats close to shore. We have a hard time seeing it, since a Coast Guard boat is there servicing it. From there we cross the Savannah River, check to see there are no ocean going ships going up the channel, before we come out of Fields Cut onto the River. 

We arrive at Thunderbolt by 11:30, fuel up and pump out and get ready to head into town. Call an Uber to take us directly to “Miss Wilkes Dining Room” for lunch. Linda was here years ago and it sounded like fun. You eat at a large table with a bunch of other folks boarding house style. You usually wait in line for an hour or more so by the time you sit down to dinner you have been talking with your fellow diners. It was a lot of fun, half locals and half out of towners like us. They just keep bringing bowls of different things, their specialty is fried chicken. We all just keep passing the bowls to each other and enjoying the food, laughter and conversation. 
Miss Wilkes Dining Room, line

Some of our fellow dinners

A Savannah Square
Our local table mates recommend Leopold's another local landmark for Ice Cream. Even though we have banana bread pudding here for desert, we are still up for Ice cream and a walk. After we walk through some of the many “Squares” in Savannah we arrive at Leopold's and get into another line to wait our turn. Linda and I both get a child’s scoop of Sorbet. 


We take another long walk to Krogers to do some food shopping and then take another Uber back to our boat. By now it is near six o'clock and dark. When we get back to the dock Jack and Ann’s boat is right in front of ours. We stop by for a chat, before they head off for dinner with an old friend of Jacks. 

We can not leave too early in the morning because 20 miles further south is Hell Gate a notoriously shallow connection between two rivers that we can not pass at dead low tide any more. We managed to do it at low tide 5 years ago, but it has gotten shallower since then. We have to wait a couple hours for the tide to rise an hour or two up from low tide before we can try passing through. We decide to have a late breakfast together on Jack and Ann’s boat tomorrow.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Bull Creek, Hilton Head

We get up early, shower and have breakfast. Linda does laundry and I add a bunch of snaps to different pieces of the enclosure to be able to roll them up in-place. We get done earlier than expected. Then we get a text from our friends Jack and Ann who are a little way behind us, that they will not be stopping at

Lady's Island. They are on schedule and want to keep moving. So we decide we might as well get moving ourselves and are off the dock at 10:45. 

We have to first go through the Lady's Island swing bridge which opens on the hour on weekdays starting a 9:00 AM. On the weekend it opens on demand, another reason to get moving on a Sunday. 

Lots of dolphins around today and a few shrimp boats working in the Port Royal Sound. As we get further south rollers are coming in off the ocean and it gets rather rocky for an hour or so until we get off the Sound and behind Hilton Head Island. We find out that Jack and Ann are about 2 hours behind us, so we will not see them today, but will be staying at the same marina “Thunderbolt” tomorrow outside of Savannah. The last three hours of motoring was in the rain with low visibility, but we were dry under the enclosure. We dropped anchor in Bull Creek around 4:00 pm just as the rain stopped.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Lady's Island

We leave shortly after our other two creek mates and plan to get to Lady's Island Marina and Beaufort before noon. Lady's Island Marina is one of our favorites. 

Ladies Island

We spent a week here on our first trip south waiting out bad weather. They have a sizable live-aboard community. Many cruisers spend a few months at a time here. One woman we meet divides her time between Lady's Island and Long Island in the Bahamas and keeps a car at both locations.
Mary, the current marina manager has been getting great reviews. We find out the marina has recently been sold and the new owner is spending more on maintenance, but also charging more. Mary informs us there is a “Low Country Boil” (sounds like a medical condition) from 2-4 this afternoon and we are invited. A local author who has an office in the Ladies Island Marina building is celebrating his 60th birthday. 

We immediately get busy and walk to Grayco hardware store and get our propane tank filled and pick up a few items. When we get back to the boat I get out the sewing machine to fix a couple zippers on our enclosure that needed to be reversed for improved functionality. 
Finished in time to go to the Birthday Party. They have live music. The author is friends with “Eric Stone” a Jimmy Buffet type singer that a lot of cruisers like. The food was excellent. A Low Country Boil is fresh shrimp, small potatoes, sausage and corn all steamed together with spices. I try hard not to pig out to badly.
Low Country Boil

Eric Stone

I have a very interesting conversation with the owner of the canvas shop at the marina. 5 years ago when we were first here he was just getting started, now he has moved into a bigger space and lives on his boat in the marina. He gets my attention when he tells me he has gone digital. Instead of making patterns in place out of plastic, he has a machine that optically digitizes the coordinates of the frames and boat mounting points and has software that creates the patterns. He has a large scale printers that prints the patterns directly on the fabric to be cut.

We get back to the boat and finish cleaning up the sewing stuff. Linda and I play cards,” Manipulation”

Friday, November 16, 2018

Upper Rock Creek

What's the glow in the east ?

We wake up to a near cloudless morning and actually get to see a sunrise, it seems like it has been weeks since one was visible. We have showers, breakfast and are off by 8:45. We were waiting for slack tide. I ask one of the dock hands for help getting off the dock in the wind. As frequently happens he was more of a hindrance that a help.
The temperature today is only going to be in the low 50’s, but it is SUNNY ! This is the first time we have had our full cockpit enclosure up for warmth, not rain. It is impressive out of the wind, with the sun how much it warms up. Our cockpit is 69 degrees and inside the boat is 61. I strip down to pants and a T-shirt. I use to ridicule boats with full enclosures on cold days with everyone wearing T-shirts while we had full foul weather gear on to stay warm. 

Toasty in our floating "Green house"

We have a very pleasant day motoring. Busy, sometimes, too busy texting various friends ahead and behind us on their boats on the ICW. If I don’t have the autopilot on I can quickly go off course. Occasionally looking up I wonder why the hell is that dock out in the middle of the ICW, oops!

Passing Army Core of Engineers ship

Squeezing by a working dredge

We reach Upper Rock Creek, our anchorage for the night. There are two other boats we have seen off and on in the last couple weeks. We have a beautiful spot in the marshes. We have a very calm night with a half moon to light the surrounding creek and marshes. With all the windy nights lately, it seems strange.
Rock Creek

Rock Creek Sunset

Thursday, November 15, 2018

St. John's Yacht Harbor, Charleston

Last night I installed the Uber app on my phone. Not sure what to expect being newbies. So after breakfast I type in our destination, the Charleston Aquarium. The App first tells me a car would be available in 35 minutes. I ask Linda if she can be ready in that time. Sure no problem. I hit the “Confirm” button and the response comes back that a driver will be there in 7 minutes. So we scramble fast. The driver is there as I am walking down the dock. He has to wait a couple minutes as I go to pay for another day at the marina and for Linda to arrive. 

We quickly get to the Aquarium, hmm, this Uber stuff works pretty nice. Today is in the high 40’s and windy, but Linda and I are stripping off clothes in our Uber. Our driver who moved here from up north has been here too long. He has on more clothes than us and has the heat cranked up to keep him warm. 

After the Aquarium we walk by the Maritime Marina and see “Antares” on the dock, but Lenard and Lynnea are not around. We grab a quick bite for lunch at “Fleet Landing” and walk through the artist market, visitor center and then spend a couple hours at the Charleston Museum. 
Hominy Grill, Breakfast Lunch & Dinner ?

Our main goal today was dinner at the “Hominy Grill” for Linda’s favorite, Chicken Liver and Grits. As we walk up to the restaurant, late in the afternoon the building looks awfully dark. We look in the windows and no one is there. We finally find a sign with the hours 7:00 AM to 3:00PM. We have always gone there in the afternoon, not realizing they are not open for dinner, only breakfast and lunch, SOB! Linda is not happy that I made her diddle away the last couple hours in a museum when she could been having her “Liver and Grits”. We walk across the street to “Fuel” a Caribbean restaurant in an old gas station. This time I wait until we are ready to walk out the door to hit “confirm” for our Uber back to the Marina. Our Uber shows up 4 minutes later.