Passage South to Jacksonville

Hello fellow adventurers and virtual crew members!

Eric here reporting on the southbound voyage of Still Waters II.  The crew has travelled 400 miles over the last 6 days and now have pulled into Ortega Landing Marina in Jacksonville, Florida.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

This turned out to be a beautiful sunny day to cruise 67 miles over eight hours.  About mid-day the crew turned into the Osprey Marina to take on fuel.  After a full day of cruising, the crew dropped anchor in the South Santee River (STM 420) for a good night’s rest.

STM 390, Waccamaw River
STM 390, Waccamaw River

Boat Name of the Day – On a 36 foot Carver motor yacht, “My Chelle’

Sunday, November 1, 2015

The crew put in a long day on the water and cruised 85 miles over ten hours.  The crew passed back through Charleston and reminisced docking on the Mega Dock.  As they passed the Marina there were several Mega Yachts on the Mega Dock.

STM 470, People enjoying Charleston Harbor
STM 470, People enjoying Charleston Harbor

There were also four small sailboats circling a motorboat. Looked to be kids learning to sail with a coach in the motorboat giving instructions.

STM 500, South Edisto River
STM 500, South Edisto River

The crew dropped anchor in the South Edisto River (STM 505).

Boat Name of the Day – On a small tug boat, ‘Miss Alignment’

Skipper hopes the owner of the tug also owns a tire store.

Monday, November 2, 2015

The crew was met by a Bald Eagle as they left the anchor spot to get back on the AICW.  They cruised 68 miles over eight hours.  They passed through the town of Beaufort, S. Carolina.

Crew getting the Eagle Eye
Crew getting the Eagle Eye

At the end of the day they were greeted by another Bald Eagle who observed them anchor in the Wright River.  (STM 573)

Bald Eagle eating fish
Bald Eagle eating fish

Boat Name of the Day – No good names today

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

As they were leaving the anchor location the crew was greeted by the third Bald Eagle.

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The crew put in 67 gloomy miles over eight hours.  The sun never broke through the clouds and there was a thick mist that just hung in the air all day.

Following the herd south
Following the herd south

On a brighter note, the mate spotted a big log in the water.  Upon further inspection the log turned out to be a Georgia Manatee.  First one spotted on the southern voyage.

IMG_0177

The dolphins have also started showing back up at most of the inlets that the crew crossed.  The crew always enjoys spotting the dolphins.

The crew dropped anchor in the Crescent River (643).  Only about 100 miles to go to Jacksonville.

Boat Name of the Day – Still no good names today

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The crew was greeted by another Bald Eagle as they weighed anchor and proceeded south.

While cruising through some shallow water the boat started to churn up some fish so the birds settled in behind the wake for a free lunch.  This is a video sequence at the end of the feeding frenzy.  Click on pic to watch the birds.

The crew put in another 67 mile day with little to report on.  They dropped anchor in the Cumberland Sound (710) with about another dozen boats.

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Boat Name of the Day – still no good boat names

Thursday, November 5, 2015

The crew was greeted by restricted visibility due to a heavy fog that was sitting on the Sound.  A couple of boats left the anchorage in the heavy fog.  Our crew waited an additional hour but conditions did not improve much.

Foggy, Foggy Morning
Foggy, Foggy Morning

Per the Coast Guard Navigational Rules, every vessel is supposed to have a ‘Look Out” while navigating the waterways to spot vessels and help avoid collisions.  Normally the helmsmen is also the Look Out.  The mate stayed in the fly bridge and acted as the Look Out while the skipper was keeping an eye out for the navigational aids.  The fog finally started to burn off and was finally gone by 0900.

The crew arrived at the St Johns River at 1124 and made a right turn to head down river to the marina.  The marina is located off the St Johns River on the Ortega River, 26 miles downstream.

Downtown Jacksonville
Downtown Jacksonville

The crew passed downtown Jacksonville and then arrived at a closed railroad bridge that was advertised to be normally open.  The skipper hailed the Bridge Tender and requested a bridge opening.  The Bridge Tender informed the skipper that a southbound train was headed for the bridge and that he would open the bridge after the train crossed.

IMG_0197

So the crew actually got to watch a train cross over one of these railroad bridges.  Another first for the crew.

IMG_0200

The crew then passed through the Fuller-Warren Bridge and headed into the Ortega Landing Marina.  The Coast Guard had an active rescue in progress so they were all over channel 16 on the radio talking with the Captain in distress.  That made hailing the Marina impossible.  While trying to call on the phone, the battery decided to play dead.  The crew had their dock and slip assignment already (B38) so they just went on in to dock.  The skipper found the B dock and then idled down to slip 38.  The fit was tight and the wind and current were strong.  The skipper started to back into the slip and managed to get her backed in, but with no dock hand on the pier the plan was to have the mate jump over to the pier and tie them up.  However, the wind was blowing them off the pier and the skipper could not get the boat over close enough for a safe leap. Luckily a few boaters came down and assisted getting the vessel tied down.

Winter resting spot, B38
Winter resting spot, B38

Ortega Landing will be where the crew winters for 2015/2016.  They have signed a three month slip lease that will expire the first of February with options to extend the stay.

However, they will spend next week cruising with new mystery guests who will arrive on Saturday and fly back to Granbury, Texas on Friday.

Boat name of the Day – ea harp, owners are both music majors, the man graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary.

4 Comments on “Passage South to Jacksonville

  1. We have work to do on the boat in November. We plan to go back to Texas for the holidays to visit family and friends in December. We will complete work on the boat in January and if all goes, well make a trip over to the Bahamas in February.

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    • Ah, ok. . God willing, my wife and I are planning to do the loop when I retire in 6 to 7 years. Sounds like a life time, but at least I am in single digit years to retirement. 🙂 Maybe someday we can meet you and your wife and go over your trip and all, when it gets closer to the year of departure. Right now we just bare boat charter up in the San Juan Islands in WA. I enjoy the boating life, I grew up boating on the east coast. Manasquan Inlet was my home town, my grandfather had a 47 ft cabin cruiser in the late 60’s with twin cummis. All wood/teak built in Keyport NJ. I was eight years old, and remember a life time of memories cruising on that boat. I remember one trip, we took it up to the 1000’s islands, and going through all the locks. He did many trips to FL to winter in FL, I was never able to go, I had to be in school. He had a place on the water in Point Pleasant, NJ. (what great fun)

      I will look forward to your up coming trip, and taking the trip with you virtually. Just think, in a year and a half, you will be done, and I will be that much closer to my dream.

      Take care and God bless

      -Scott

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  2. Glad y’all are settled in. Also glad, after days of no good names, you found a great one!

    Have a good time with your guests.

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