Run to Brunswick, GA

Hello fellow adventurers and virtual crew members!

Eric here reporting on the latest movements of Still Waters II.  With a week long lay over in St. Augustine, she is on the move to Brunswick, Georgia.  Our crew is fond of Georgia after spending two years living in Atlanta from 2011 to 2013.  They are eager to get back to the ‘Peach State.’

To navigate the 88 miles to Brunswick, they plan a three day cruise with stops in Palm Cove Marina located in Jackson Beach, Fernandina Harbor Marina on Amelia Island, and then on to Brunswick.

Voyage to Palm Cove

The crew departed the dock at 1000 and then immediately went under the Lions Bridge.  The bridge claims a height of 25 feet, the cruising guide said 22 feet, and the water level marker said 21 when she slid under due to tides.  Seems the bridge tender was a little nervous though because she stepped outside and watched the vessel pass under.  With an air clearance of 17 feet 6 inches, there was plenty of room to spare.

image

A right turn towards the St Augustine inlet gave a pretty view of the Atlantic Ocean off of the bow.  But with the strong currents, there was little site seeing for the skipper as he negotiated the navigational aids in the inlet.

Next obstacle was the Villano Beach Bridge as they left the inlet but entered the headwaters of the Tolomato River.  They stayed in the river for about 16 miles when they then entered the Palm Valley Cut.

One of two boat barns
One of two boat barns
Lift to move boat in and out of the water
Lift to move boat in and out of the water

The waterway guide mentioned strong currents at this bridge that tend to push your boat sideways.  This was a spot on warning.  To compound problems passing through this bridge, there also just happened to be a young lady fishing in a kayak in the middle of the bridge.  She began to paddle out of the way as the crew approached.  As luck would have it, she caught a fish on one of her poles and the fish made a run directly under Still Waters II.  Not sure what pound line was on the pole, but the boat snagged her line and pulled the kayak towards Still Waters II before the line finally broke.  Our skipper does not need these kinds of special challenges while crossing under bridges.

The  rest of the voyage proved uneventful as they motored the cut and admired the homes lining the east side.  After passing under the final bridge of the day, our crew arrived at the Palm Cove Marina and docked at C-Dock on the T head at 1445.

image

After taking a short break and cooling off, our crew took a swim in the pool and then headed to Publix to buy a few groceries since the store was only a half mile down the road.  They then finished off the day by listening to a pod cast of a 12 Stone Church sermon.

Voyage to Fernandina

The crew was up and about making ready for the trip to Fernandina.  They left the dock at 1000 and headed north in very calm and glass like water.  The 5 miles along Pablo Creek, before crossing the St John’s River, were eerily calm.  Oh, and did I mention that the chart plotter stopped working just as they got ready to cross the St John’s River.

The skipper had his paper charts out already, but one could tell he was more than a little stressed with the chart plotter incident.  He quickly called Claudia to the helm as he went below to get a different chip for the chart plotter.  Hmmmmm, that one did not seem to work either.  Oh well, guess the crew will just cross on the paper charts.

With a big tug coming to meet them, they moved further to the west in the river.  Problem is they were looking for a right turn up Sisters Creek.  They missed the turn, but quickly recovered when they found red marker 26 which was north of the creek.  They made a U-turn and found Sister Creek on the second try.  After passing under the Sister Creek Bridge, Claudia took the helm again as our skipper found the chart plotter smarts book and tried to trouble shoot the plotter problem.

He called it troubleshooting, I call it Easter egg hunting.  But it seems if you push enough buttons and flip enough pages in the smarts book, the chart plotter will respond and come back to life.

Sister Creek ran for about 5 miles and the joined Sawpit Creek which ran for another 5 miles to the Nassau Sound.

A ‘sound’ refers to a narrow sea or ocean channel between two bodies of land.  In this area, and all the way to Virginia, the crew will cross many sounds.  With the chart plotter working, this crossing was a piece of cake.

On the North East side of the sound, our crew found the navigational aids and entered into the South Amelia River.  They navigated to Kingsley Creek and then into the Amelia River.  At the transition from the South Amelia River to the Kingsley Creek, the waterway guides warn of shoaling.  Well our skipper found some shallow water.  The depth sounder was consistently showing 7 feet of water when suddenly the depth went to 3 feet.  The skipper immediately took the throttles to neutral and there was a small thud sound as the props hit the mud bottom.  Claudia was down below fixing lunch and came up to see what that sound was. They slowly started hunting for some deeper water and found some to starboard.

I overheard the skipper tell his mate that it is days like today that make you understand why the crew has ‘docktails’ once they safely reach port.  You need a shot of something to calm the nerves.

View of downtown Fernandina
View of downtown Fernandina

After reaching Fernandina, the crew went ashore to see the sites. The first stop was the visitor center at the end of the pier.  The lady working the desk had just gotten back from the DFW area visiting her grandkids.  After talking Texas for a few minutes, she gave the crew the skinny on Fernandina, and the crew set off exploring.

The skipper is nicknaming this the fish & chips, fudge, and cream loop.  He seems to be trying to find the best in each category.  To find the best though you have to sample all in each area.  And yes there was both a fudge and ice cream store in town.  The name of the joint is Fantastic Fudge and they have been in business here since 1988.

Sitting outside Fantastic Fudge
Sitting outside Fantastic Fudge

Our crew made the stop at Fantastic Fudge on the way back to the boat.  Seems the mate purchased a drop leaf table for the dining room and the skipper is carrying the table back to the boat.  He claimed he needed to stop to get some energy to make the trip all the way back to the boat.  Likely story, and he is sticking to it.  And yes, the fudge and ice cream were great.

The sun is setting on the Florida adventure
The sun is setting on the Florida adventure

 

Voyage to Brunswick

With a little further to travel today, our crew was up and leaving the dock at 0905.  They have Georgia on the mind.  By 0928, they were entering the Cumberland Sound and into Georgia waters.

The sound played a few mental tricks with our crew though.  They had been warned of this back in their training, but this was the first time they actually saw these strange markers.

Up until now, as they travel north, they have kept red markers to port and green markers to starboard.  The red markers also have a yellow triangle, and the green markers have had a yellow square.  The triangle and square denote the marker as an ICW marker.

Today, as they were crossing the Cumberland Sound, they were actually in a channel from the Atlantic Ocean, so the markers were in the red right returning mode.  Red markers to starboard and green markers to port.

Wild horse left by the Spanish on Cumberland Island
Wild horse left by the Spanish on Cumberland Island

However, the yellow markings stayed the same, so now the green markers had yellow triangles and the red markers had yellow squares.

Tricky marker
Tricky marker

Very tricky and confusing for our skipper.  With a little help from the mate, they managed to cross with no issues.

Interesting place for a channel marker
Interesting place for a channel marker

The next obstacle was crossing the Jekyl Sound.  The markers here took an interesting set of twist and turns as the ICW made its way north.

By days end, the crew entered passed through Jekyl Creek, which was very narrow and shallow.  Five miles of five feet of water makes for a weary skipper.

Narrow and shallow Jekyl Creek
Narrow and shallow Jekyl Creek

After exiting the creek it was an easy cruise over to the Marina for docking.  Once docked, they discovered their electric cord did not reach, so they got to practice docking again and moved over one slip.

Time to take a day of rest before moving on to Savannah.

Shore Excursions – St Augustine

With a week spent in St Augustine exploring the history of the area, it is time to chronicle the visit and prep for cruising further north.

As last reported, our crew entered the port last Sunday, July 19 and wandered the streets to get the lay of the land.

Ponce de Leon greeting you as you enter the plaza.
Ponce de Leon greeting you as you enter the plaza.
Two ships docked directly behind Still Waters II. They go out twice a day. The pirate ship is 'The Raven'.
Two ships docked directly behind Still Waters II. They go out twice a day. The pirate ship is ‘The Raven’

MONDAY

A 2 mile bicycle ride took our explorers to the lighthouse.  One gets to climb to the top and take in the surrounding views if you can make the 219 stairs.  The climb also gives you a better perspective for the keeper who had to make the climb once every two hours carrying a 5 gallon pail of hot oil to keep the light shining, all night long, every night.  Not an easy life. The lens in the lighthouse today dates back to 1874 and was built in Paris, France.

Views from the top.

image image

The Keeper House was built in 1876.

The original selfie, mirror with lighthouse in the background.

image

Tuesday

We find our explorers headed to the Castillo de San Marcos, the fort to protect the spainish from those pesky British who are just north of here in modern day Georgia.  The fort was completed in 1695.  The Brits attacked two different times but never could take the area.  In disgust, they burned the civilian part of town to the ground in the early 1700’s.

Protecting the harbor
” Protecting the harbor

In 1763, the British finally get Florida as part of a peace treaty.  They do not hold on to the territory very long.  As part of losing the Revolutionary war with the young Americans, the Brits give Florida back to Spain.

image

In 1821, Spain cedes Florida to the U.S.

Wednesday

A new adventure was in order to start looking for decor and design for the boat.  That is right, adventure shopping. Not really sure what is up with that, we never decorated our Viking vessels. Interested to see how this ends up, but looks like the mate is just getting started. First the crew had to figure out how to navigate the bus system to get to the stores on the shopping list.  Then shop till you drop.  Then make it back to the Marina before the last bus run of the day.  And yes, articles of decoration have been purchased.  Seems the mate is just getting warmed up though and I suspect the skipper has a few more of these adventures in his immediate future.

Old City Gate
Old City Gate

Thursday

The crew went to the Lightner Musuem.  Interesting display of late 1800’s household items.  The musuem was originally the Hotel Alcazar, built in 1887.  The Hotel was built by Henry Flagler, who was one of John D Rockefeller’s original partners at Standard Oil.

Friday

Hard day of work cleaning Still Waters II.  Not much adventure in that, but she is starting to look better and better.  The skipper got an early start by walking 2 miles for supplies because his bike had a flat.  On the hike he found a bike shop and got new tubes. He also found a bike better suited for the mate.  After walking back 2 miles, the crew decided that they would go look at the bike after cleaning and working on the boat.  They decided to buy the bike,  but on the way back to the Marina they got caught in a downpour.  They managed to get under an awning, but the wind was so strong the rain was just blowing sideways.  Needless to say, not a dry spot left.  The flooding was severe, and was reported about two feet deep in the old part of town.

Saturday

More shopping adventures, and dinner out on the town.

Time to get ready to cast off.  The Float Plan for the next few days is to head north to Fernandina, and then cross over into Georgia and stop in Brunswick.

Run to St Augustine

Hello fellow adventurers and virtual crew members!

Eric here reporting on the latest movement of Still Waters II.  She journeyed from Palm Coast to St Augustine on Sunday, July 19, 2015.  Her journey entailed 32 miles, 3 bridges, and lots of beautiful views.

Lucky for the crew the voyage was all pleasure and no surprises.  Mostly cruising in good deep water.  There was one interesting site along the way.  An old spainish fort, Fort Matanzas at mile 793.

Fort Matanzas
Fort Matanzas

The fort was built by the spainish in 1782 to protect St Augustine’s southern approach.  The fort is now a national monument.

The next major structure was the St Augustine Lighthouse.

Built in 1874
Built in 1874

As the crew turned the next bend the old city came into view and the view was breathtaking.

St Augustine, established 1565
St Augustine, established 1565

Docking is getting easier for our skipper and crew, and once they were tied up they noticed they were docked just south of Phase II.  This is the third port that the two crews from Texas have crossed wakes.

image

After docking, the crew made things ship shape and went exploring into St Augustine.  With 450 years of history to explore, this port call will be for a week as the crew tours all the sites around St Augustine.

The following link is a video of the run to St Augustine. It takes about 2 minutes to load the 3,500 pics taken on the voyage.  So please be patient. The video is also 8 minutes long. This is a work in progress as we experiment with timing of the time elapsed pics.  However, I hope the virtual crew members find it interesting.  Any suggestions to the budding videographer are welcome.

Run to Palm Coast

Hello fellow adventurers!

Eric here reporting on the leg of journey from New Smyrna Beach to Palm Coast, Fl.

The journey included 43 statute miles, 9 bridges, the Ponce de Leon Inlet, passing thru Daytona Beach, and a few surprises for our crew.

The first surprise was about a mile north of the Marina.  The George E. Musson, Coronado Beach Bridge was reported to have a clearance of 24 feet.  With the antenna down, our air clearance is 17.5 feet.  No problem getting under this bridge, except as they approached and got close (maybe a little to close) the skipper began to think there was not enough clearance to get under.  He put the engines in neutral and began looking for the level marker on the bridge.  With a little help from his binoculars, he found the current conditions with only a 15 foot clearance.  He hailed the bridge and requested an opening, the bridge tender stopped traffic, and Still Waters II cleared the bridge.

We stayed at the city marina and headed out north.
We stayed at the city marina and headed out north.

As the crew made the left turn towards the Inlet, the lighthouse came into view.  While observing the lighthouse rather than the navigational aids, our skipper missed the left turn at red marker ’18’.  As the skipper reached the next red marker is was ’12’ and without the ICW yellow triangle.  He quickly made a u turn and went back and found ’18’ and got back in the ICW.

Ponce de Leon Lighthouse
Ponce de Leon Lighthouse

The tide was rising so the Atlantic Ocean was pouring in the Inlet and the crew rode the current all the way to Daytona Beach.  The water in this area was a pretty tourqoise.

Claudia with lighthouse in background. Oops, we missed our turn trying to get this pic.
Claudia with lighthouse in background. Oops, we missed our turn trying to get this pic.

In Daytona Beach, there were two more bridges that the boat should have slide under, but because of the rising tide they were in the 16 foot range.  The skipper hailed the bridge, traffic was stopped, and she maneuvered safely thru the current.  However, at the Main Street Bridge, the crew was informed that only half of the bridge was working, so proceed at your own risk.  The skipper once again maneuvered the boat safely thru the bridge, but I think he was holding his breath most of the way thru.

Stopping traffic on Main Street
Stopping traffic on Main Street

Since the skipper was a bit nervous, he was going slow and cautious.  Once clear of the bridge the crew looked to see how far the traffic was backed up.  Yes, it was backed up for as far as they could see.  Hope nobody was in a hurry.

Nice tile work on bridge in Daytona
Nice tile work on bridge in Daytona

By the time the crew reached the L.B. Knox Bridge (only 15 foot clearance), the crew hailed the bridge in plenty of time to cruise right thru with no issues or waiting.  Amazing what a little practice can do for our new skipper.

From this point (mile 816) to the Marina (mile 803), the east side of the ICW was lined with large beautiful homes, pools, and boat docks.  The west side, was raw undeveloped land.  These folks have a great view.

Run to New Smyrna Beach

Hello fellow adventurers!

Eric the Red reporting on the run from Cocoa to New Smyrna Beach, Florida on Thursday, July 16.

Our crew got up at 0700 to eat breakfast, read their Bibles, prep for leaving, engine fluid checks, disconnecting water, disconnecting shore power, and finally throwing off those dock lines and heading north.  They departed at 0915.

The run was 50 miles, 5 bridges, and volumes of shallow water.

NASA Rail Road Bridge Normally open, auto shuts and reopens when a train passes over
NASA Rail Road Bridge
Normally open, auto shuts and reopens when a train passes over

The first twenty miles were challenged by a constant 15 mph side wind that continuously kept trying to push the vessel out of the ICW, but the newbie skipper managed to keep her in deep water between the navigational aids.

At the 30 mile point, the crew left the Indian River and entered the Haulover Canal.  The canal is one mile long and only about 45 feet wide.  Still Waters II is 14 ft 9 inches wide and was hogging a third of the canal.  The crew saw their first manatees while cruising the canal.  In fact, they spotted five of the beast swimming in the opposite direction of the boat.  One group of three, and another group of two.

Entering the Haulover Canal
Entering the Haulover Canal

Upon exiting the canal, they made a hard left turn and entered mosquito lagoon.  So named because of the shallow water and great breeding ground for the nasty skeeter.  Outside the channel, which was running about eight feet deep, the rest of the lagoon was only 1 – 2 feet of water.

A look back west confirmed that a big thunderstorm was headed directly for the crew.  They began preparing for more rain and the storm finally caught them with about ten miles to go.  The rain was so heavy that the newbie skipper could not see the navigational aids so he asked the best mate to look for the next marker down course while he steered for the closest marker.  They worked well as a team, but the strain wore them out as they continued to move forward while trying to stay out of the shallow water and avoid running aground.

After about an hour of this fun the weather finally broke and the sun was back out just in time for them to enter the marina.  When they hailed the marina on the radio to ask for their mooring assignment, the dock master told them that they had no mooring balls, but had a slip assignment for them.

Oh no!  They are not ready to dock, no fenders out, no lines ready, not mentally ready for this either.  So much for mooring tonite.

Well, lucky for them they were assigned a slip just as you entered the marina, pulled straight in and tied right up.  Some folks they met in Cocoa, but who are actually from Dallas, were parked two slips over and assisted in bringing Still Waters II to safe dockage.  Looks like our crew is starting to get the hang of this docking stuff.

Safe and sound
Safe and sound

After getting all the electrical and water hook-ups and lines securely fastened, it was time for a short stroll thru the town.  Short indeed.  Looks like they have one street, Canal Street, with all the business which roll up the welcome mat at 1700.  They did find the ice cream store, but like the other businesses in town, the store was closed.

All was not lost however, as they did take the time to find two geocaches nearby.

Can you see the ammo can that is the cache?
Can you see the ammo can that is the cache?

Time for our crew to turn in since they have another 44 mile run to make tomorrow, as they make their way north to Palm Coast Marina.

Shore Excursion- Cocoa, Florida

Hello fellow adventurers!

Eric here to bring you up to date on the goings on of our crew.  More specifically, about two shore excursions they have made during their stay in Cocoa, Florida.  One, a trip to Kennedy Space Center and the second, a geocache named ‘A Walk Thru the Village.’

Saturday, July 11, the crew decided to head to Kennedy Space Center to explore an adventure into the last frontier.  A short 20 minute drive and they were at the Space Center.  After standing in the Will Call line to pick up the tickets they ordered on-line they were inside and headed to the Rocket Garden.  The garden contains actual rockets of the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs.

Just a few rockets growing in the Rocket Garden
Just a few rockets growing in the Rocket Garden

They decided that the next stop would be the IMAX theater for air conditioned viewing of two 3D movies.  Hubble documents the images of the Hubble Space Telescope, while Journey to Space documents current NASA projects such as sending astronauts to Mars.

Space Shuttle Atlantis calls the Space Center home now after traveling 126 million miles in space, and there is a wonderful exhibit that will leave you awestruck as you work your way around about 60 exhibits.

Outside the Atlantis building
Outside the Atlantis building

For a virtual tour of the Space Center, follow the link to  Kennedyspacecenter.com click on INFO, then scroll down to virtual tours.  Check out the exhibits for yourself.

The Atlantis
The Atlantis

At the Information Center our crew confirmed that there would be a rocket launch on Wednesday, so they decided to extend their stay to observe the launch from the marina.

Atlas V Rocket carrying GPSIIF10
Atlas V Rocket carrying GPSIIF10

image image image

The launch lifted off at 1136 as scheduled.  The rocket and fire ball were visible for a few seconds, then made its way thru a low set of clouds and became visible again.  This time you could track the rocket for another five- ten seconds before it disappeared into another cloud bank.  The rocket reappeared in the blue sky and finally vanished into the clouds.  About a minute later, you could feel and hear the rumble from the takeoff.

Follow the link to a video of launch.   http://youtu.be/_bkojYvDAlk

The payload was a GPS system for both the Air Force and civilian population.  Which leads us to our second excursion of geocaching.  Need those GPS satellites to help find the treasure of caching.

The ‘Walk Thru the Village’ cache is a puzzle cache.  The adventurer has to visit 6 landmarks in the village, solve a puzzle at each location, and then the six solved puzzles lead to the final location for the treasure.

With the initial stroll thru town, the six puzzles were solved and our crew was off to the final location.  After considerable time looking and coming up empty handed, they looked at recent logs and determined that two of their solves were wrong.  It was getting dark, so they agreed to return the next day to make the grab.

Main Street, Cocoa, Florida
Main Street, Cocoa, Florida

On day 2, they rechecked the two puzzles in question.  First was for a phone number at a gazebo.  Seems there are two different phone numbers.  Give a nuke a 50/50 chance, they will miss it 90% of the time.  They needed the eighth number of the blue sign, not the eighth number on the gazebo post.  Pretty tricky.

The second puzzle asked for the number of windows at the historic theater, and there were three.  What the puzzle really wanted was how many ticket booths there were. There was one booth with three windows.  Armed with these new numbers, they were off to a new location to make the grab.  Again they came up empty.

This calls for a ‘phone a friend’ approach.  Our newbie skipper e-mailed the cache owner with the coordinates and asked if they were searching in the right spot.  While waiting for a response, it was time to cool down at the ice cream store.  While eating ice cream the owner responded that they still had one unsolved puzzle.  It was the phone number again.  The clue said use the eighth digit, our newbie skipper obviously cannot count because he was using the ninth digit.  Hhhhmmm that will make a difference in location of about 200 feet.

They moved to the ‘New’  final location since now they have solid evidence that they have the right coordinates.  But again, still no find.  Looks like the last person who searched for this cache came up empty also.

The name of our geocachers is Tex Snoop Dogs.  They were unable to sniff this cache out so they logged the following Did Not Find:

Well our streak of finds is over at 223. Have spent about two hours walking the town gathering clues.      Then when empty handed asked for help to learn that we were at wrong spot. Seems I cannot count to eight properly (but I can count to nine).

Finally got to right coordinates but still no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow (or peanut butter jar either).

Guess we will head back to the marina to our boat wondering what went wrong. Maybe we should stop at the pub….. The Village Idiot.

Thanks for the tour of the town.

With the shore excursions and rocket launch over, it is time to make the boat ready for the next few days of travel.  Planned itinerary is to motor to New Smyrna Beach and moor out one nite.  Then move north to Palm Cost for two nights.  Then finally, an extended stay in St Augustine.  Founded in 1565 as a Spanish military outpost, St Augustine is the oldest continuously occupied European settlement in the United States.

Two for the Price of One

Our adventurers made their first solo run from Vero Beach to Cocoa, Florida on Friday, July 10th.  The run was a total of 55 miles, 5 bridges and no locks.

The morning started with glassy smooth water and no breeze.  They cast off the mooring ball at 0909 and headed north up the Indian River which contains the ICW in this part of Florida.

Newbie skipper pulling away from mooring field
Newbie skipper pulling away from mooring field

Initially the shore line was still huge homes, but this gave way as they moved north to less populated areas.  At one point they traveled along the Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge.

Osprey nest cover up the navigational aids. What marker was that?
Osprey nest covering up the navigational aids. What marker was that?

The pic of the day was when a pod of dolphins decided to ride the wake of the big Viking.  Back in the day when I was traveling between Iceland and Greenland, I could never get the crew to row fast enough to get a wake the Dolphins could ride.  This was pretty exciting to see.

First Dolphine photos
First Dolphin photos
Dolphins beside the boat
Dolphins beside the boat

Another interesting creature was the several miles of jellyfish that were in the water today. We never saw a no swimming sign, but I think we will just stay out of the water today. No since risking getting stung by a jellyfish.

Can you find the jellyfish?
Can you find the jellyfish?

Claudia also spent about one and a half hours behind the wheel today.  Gaining some valuable experience at the helm.   But as the crew neared the destination, it was time to turn over the helm to our newbie skipper and see how he handles his first docking attempt.

After taking a slooooow approach to the slip (in fact the marina dock hand thought the boat got lost it took so long to get in the marina) our newbie skipper managed to safely dock the boat in the designated slip.  However, when attempting to hook up shore power, the cable was about ten feet short.  The marina reassigned the crew a new slip and they got to practice their docking skills again.

After getting the boat safely in the second slip, the newbie skipper spent another hour adjusting lines to be tied up to Captain Geoff standards.  We hope he would be proud of the spring lines.  One thing the crew has learned is, you tie up for the weather you may get, not the weather you have.

After cooling down and a little supper, our crew went ashore to stroll thru the town of Cocoa.  The two block historic district is a easy walk from the waterfront and has many specialty boutiques and art stores.

Art work in Cocoa. Many of the buildings show historic scenes
Art work in Cocoa. Many of the buildings show historic scenes

The store that caught the eye of the crew was the ice cream business.  Peach ice cream was ordered up to celebrate the days success.

Anchors Aweigh

Our adventurers made an uneventful run from Stuart to Vero Beach, Florida on Thursday, July 9th. The run was a total of 38 miles, 5 bridges and no locks.

Cruising past St Lucie Nuclear Power Plant.
Cruising past St Lucie Nuclear Power Plant.

Captain Geoff Gow was back on board to complete the training of our crew.  Today’s training consisted of fueling at the dock, anchoring, man overboard, and mooring.

Practicing retrieving the anchor
Practicing retrieving the anchor

Weeeeeell maybe it was not that uneventful.  But first let me back up a bit.  Our crew had previously inspected the anchor chain and concluded the last 5 feet needed to be removed.  However, the crew presently does not have the tooling to cut the chain, so the job was put on the list of things to do.

While performing the anchor training in about 10 foot of water, the chain broke with the anchor set and about 100 ft of chain played out.  Chain being chain and slightly heavier than water, the chain quickly disappeared into the water.

The weak link
The weak link

The crew went back up to where they had first let the anchor out and let out the backup anchor.

Geoff made a galant effort to try snorkeling to find the chain of the lost anchor, but visibility was only about 18 inches due to the tidal current.  After about 10 minutes, all agreed that this strategy would not work and it was time to move on.

A little watermelon was consumed while our crew licked their wounds and cooled off.  When it was time to bring in the second anchor, Geoff asked what would be the chance of dragging the anchor and finding the first chain. All agreed that is was 1 in a hundred, but what the heck, never hurts to try.

First pass over the suspect area resulted in no anchor chain.  However, on the second pass,the anchor took a grab on something and tightened quickly.  After a little effort, anchor boy (Dave) finally brought the anchor to the surface, and low and behold there was the original anchor chain.

Geoff and Dave worked together to get hold of the chain and bring the anchor back onboard.

Sometimes it pays to be lucky rather than good.  Oh, and a little prayer from Claudia and almost instant response is good also.  Thank you Jesus.

A little celebration for snagging the chain
A little celebration for snagging the chain

After the high fives were done, our crew set course for Vero Beach.  Once at the Vero Beach City Marina, the last bit of instruction was completed in the mooring field.  The crew practiced about three times and then finally settled down for a little rest.

Geoff was taking a rental car back to Stuart, so when the rental place called and said they were at the dock, it was time to motor over to the dock and say bye.  Geoff promoted the ‘would be skipper’ to ‘newbie skipper’ and wished the crew well.

It just will not be the same without Geoff onboard
It just will not be the same without Geoff onboard

They managed to get away from the dock and back on the mooring ball #22 without incident.

Rib eyes for dinner to celebrate the removal of the training wheels, and then back to work to straighten out the anchor mess.  Anchor chain and rope is all over the fore deck and needs to be stowed properly.

The view from 22
The view from 22

image image image

No rest for the weary…………….

Stuart Shore Excursion

With all the work in preparing for life aboard the boat wrapping up, it was time for a real shore excursion and some sight seeing.  Most locals all suggested the House of Refuge as the must see spot in Stuart, so our adventurers set out on bike to see what the fuss was all about.

The first stop was about a mile down the road to take in the Atlantic Ocean.  The water was clear and the sand was brown.

Looking out to sea. This area is called the Treasure Coast due to the number of shipwrecks back in the sailing ship days
” Looking out to sea.
This area is called the Treasure Coast due to the number of shipwrecks back in the sailing ship days

After a short break and a little shelling, they left the beach and headed down to the House of Refuge.The couple was greeted by a little ole man who took the time to give a verbal history of the House of Refuge.  He said the House was built back in 1876 as one of ten such houses to help ship wrecked sailors.  According to him, there were only 200 people registered to Florida in the 1870 census.  So when a ship wreck happened there was little assistance for any survivors.

The concept was to build the houses about ten miles apart, have someone live in the house, and walk the beach 5 miles up and down the beach looking for sailors.

The House of Refuge
The House of Refuge

The Gilbert Bar House of Refuge is the only house left.

The man also mentioned that they closed at 1600, so he cautioned not to linger to long in the porch rocking chairs.  Seems some stay there all day.  Hmmmmmmmm

Rocking the day away in the cool sea breeze
Rocking the day away in the cool sea breeze

Inside the house revealed a small space, with even smaller rooms.

Kitchen
Kitchen
Dining Room
Dining Room
Living Area
. Living Area

Check out their website, if you would like to learn more about the House of Refuge.  Or check out the web cam of the Atlantic from the House.

http://houseofrefugefl.org

No excursion would be complete without a little geocaching, and there just so happens to be a cache only 300 ft from the House.  This was an easy grab.

Claudia returning log to the cache.
Claudia returning log to the cache.

Time to head back and stop to provision the boat.  As with most things with the boat, no task is as easy as it looks.  A stop at Publix’s to get enough food for the next several days seems easy enough.  However, when they went to leave the store, the wind was blowing about 25 mph and a sprinkle had started.

They made a decision to sit out the storm under the pavilion.  Thirty minutes latter the storm subsided so they started the last half mile back to the boat.  Check the radar just to be sure, all looks clear, and then when barely out of the parking lot, the storm lets loose round two.  Our bicyclists make a detour to shelter at a gas station and wait another 20 minutes for the weather to clear.

Packed up for the ride to the boat.
Packed up for the ride to the boat.
One soaked crew member
One soaked crew member

Finally, the weather really clears and they safely return to the boat.

On a better note, the AC is fixed, so on Thursday, July 9th the last day of on board training will take place as the boat heads to Vero Beach for anchoring and mooring training for the crew.

I survived

The fourth started innocent enough, a short little bike ride (5.2 miles) to pick up a few needed items to make life aboard the boat a little better.

Celebrating the 4th in Stuart, Fl. This flag once flew in Iraq. Thanks Mike.
Celebrating the 4th in Stuart, Fl. This flag once flew in Iraq. Thanks Mike.

This biking adventure started at about 0930 while it was still cool, but did not end until after 1430 after a few added detours, 90 degree weather, with 87 percent humidity.  Total distance 15 miles.

First stop – Our bikers set out to get the ‘would be skipper’s, phone fixed.  Seems it was dropped, broke, and basically dysfunctional since May 28th.  The repair shop was over a mile long bridge with a 100 foot elevation gain at the center.  The mate got a little help to make it over the bridge as the ‘would be skipper’ rode beside her with his hand on her back and pushed them both up and over.  Coasting down the other side of the bridge brought them to the repair shop.  Good News – The shop performed surgery and brought the phone back to life.  Bad News – bunch of specialty shops in this area that need to be shopped down by the mate.  More Good News – shops closed due to Holiday.

Second Stop – rain delay, had to pull in to another shopping center because of showers.  They found a closed restaurant with outdoor furniture to wait out the storm.  This gave the mate a chance to make a call to Judith Nix to see how she was doing.

Third Stop – top of next big bridge, another 100 foot, mile long bridge.  Needed to take a rest stop at the top of the bridge.  Boy, does it heat up fast here in Florida, or what.

Fourth Stop – West Marine, bought a grill for the boat, but now the ‘would be skipper’ has a flat front tire

Fifth Stop – 5 Guys Burger and Fries, you have to have a burger on the fourth, and if you have to have a burger………..they do not get much better than this.

Sixth Stop – half mile in wrong direction to get air for tire

Side stop. Like the verbiage on the sign
Side stop. Like the verbiage on the sign

Seventh Stop – two miles in the wrong direction to go to Walmart to get patch kit for tire.

Eighth Stop – back at the bottom of the two bridges, rest up before tackling the first bridge.

Ninth Stop – top of first bridge

Tenth Stop – top of second bridge, mate informed ‘would be skipper’ to get to the boat and make sure the AC is working so it is cool when she gets there

Eleventh Stop – back home on the boat, where the mate was heard saying “I survived” as she was sitting down to rest and cool off.

After relaxing a bit, the two set off for a swim at the pool and some pool side reading and napping.

The fireworks were set to start at 2100 hundred so our crew headed back up the first bridge to get a birds eye view of the show.

The Stuart show was upstaged by a river front homeowner who also started shooting his fireworks at 2100.  The amateur show went for 20 minutes and the reflection in the water was spectacular.  Amazing what you can do when you pass the hat in a multi million dollar housing addition.

From the perch on the bridge, one could see fireworks in 360 degrees. Very impressive!

After things slowed down, our couple hiked back to the boat to turn in after a long day.

Time to bring this day to a close
Time to bring this day to a close

Hopefully the AC install will complete early in the week and the boat can set off to Vero Beach.

%d bloggers like this: