Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Done for now

We are writing this from a hotel near the Orlando airport - waiting for our plane home.

We left Amelia Island on Monday debating whether we should go outside or continue up the ICW. The last person we talked to was Patty from "Knot Dreaming," who said they always go outside. Just clear the North Jetty Buoy at the end of the inlet and head north. So we did. Pam had a "sell the boat" moment as we crashed through the huge waves in the inlet. We think they are caused when the big ocean waves "wash up" in the inlet and they are made worse if the tide is going against the wind. Anyway - we stuck the nose in the troughs for about 20 minutes before we finally got the sails up and things smoothed out.

We had a good sail all the way - but the depths were a little disconcerting. A couple of times we only had a foot or two below the keel and once we had to change course to avoid some obvious shoals. Made it into the Brunswick cut and under the bridge (our 53rd) in about 8 hours. Tied up with help from the marina staff at Dock 15 at Brunswick Landing Marina and started to get the Blue Pearl ready to leave.

Pam remarks that this isn't like trips on our little boat where we could hardly wait to get home to shower and get comfortable. The "Blue Pearl" is very comfortable and has become our second home... our summer cottage. The heat has been oppressive but when we come back in January we think it will be incredible.

Wrapping the Main
Wrapping the Main

Checking the lines
Checking the lines

Cleaning up "Murphy"
Cleaning up "Murphy


The Rack
The Rack

Wine anyone?
The Wine Rack

Friday, August 14, 2009

New plan

OK... still coming home on August 20th but things are a bit different.

We rented a car and drove to St. Mary's. Very do-it-yourself. Rocky and his Aunt Mabel run the show and it is very rustic. We have to do a ton of work - maybe more than we are willing. We need to remove the backstay to get the travel lift around the boat. Also, all sails off, canvas off, cover the boat with netting. We are also a little worried about getting there - with all the twists and turns in the river! All this in 92 degree, humid heat!

So, friends had suggested Brunswick, 40 miles to the north. A bit discouraged, we drove the extra 40 miles. Took us less than an hour. We're not used to those kinds of speeds. Pam wanted to make lunch on the way - just like on the boat.

At Brunswick we could see why our friends had recommended the place. There are hundreds of boats at the docks. The salty old bird that runs the place made our adventure sound very mundane. People leave their boats there all the time. Getting ready for their winter in the Bahamas. You mean we aren't the first? Very normal. Bring the boat in, put it to bed like we do with Miss Pearl every year in the Pacific Northwest. Get all the bumpers out, lots of lines, don't leave any sandwiches in the fridge and ... leave!

So, one more adventure coming up. We will leave here on Monday early and exit the Saint Mary's River entrance. Sail north to the Brunswick entrance - and tie up at Brunswick landing. Plan B would have us go up the ICW in the event of bad weather.

We've been toting this canvas bag around with us... supposed to be a spinnaker so we pulled it out the other day. Wow... we've got big sails. Looking forward to trying that.

So we are doing lots of little chores, changing pumps, building a wifi antenna, installing a wine glass rack (very important), installing speakers (for Jimmy Buffet music for Charlotte), cleaning the raw water strainer, getting the who's who organized so we can get some maintenance done while we are gone. Also a little sight-seeing.

Leaving on Monday for Brunswick.

St. Marys
St. Marys closer

St. Marys up close  - hmmmmmm

Brunswick - closer

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

We are done... almost

We are in Amelia Island Yacht Basin, just 12 miles from where the boat will be hauled.  There are no services at that boat yard so we are staying here and enjoying the surroundings.

We left New Smyrna on August 8 after hitting the farmers market near the dock in the morning.  Pam loaded us up with fresh fruit and vegetables.  We found a bakery there too so we are eating well!

Got a newspaper?
Got a newspaper?

Did 10 bridges on the ICW and stopped in the planned community of Palm Coast.  Huge apartment complexes and neighbourhoods on the canals.  I wonder what the prices are like given all the commotion about Florida real estate.

All along the ICW - thousands of boat lifts.
All along the ICW - thousands of boat lifts.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

the ICW

August 5, 2009

We’ve come a long way! After our rush with the Gulf Stream we stopped in Fort Pierce at the Pelican Yacht Club. Pool, bar, groceries across the street – a virtual oasis! We have realized that our destination isn’t that far away but we have many days. We flirted with the notion of heading over to the Bahamas, but the days are so hot it does not appeal. We are on a mission to deliver this boat, learn how she works and get her ready for the post retirement launch.

So, we stayed 4 days at the Pelican Yacht Club and enjoyed the amenities – and the AC in our boat.

On Wednesday, we set off at 6:30 for Melbourne. We motored up the ICW, thinking about putting up some sails. We don’t know if there are rules. Are you allowed to sail on the ICW with all its constrictions?

We are mapping out our final stops… Titusville, Daytona Beach, St. Augustine, Jacksonville Beach and finally Fernandina Beach before our haul-out in St. Marys, Georgia.

We need to “burn” a few days so anything close enough with charm becomes home. We feel slightly guilty staying at marinas – but it is over 90 everyday and our AC can get it down to 75 if we get it going soon enough. In the winter and spring, the temperature will be in the 70s at night. That will be much more do-able.

August 8, 2009

Stopped on Thursday at Titusville. Cool seeing the NASA buildings from the ICW. Got up early to leave and were at the “Always Open” NASA railway bridge by 7:30. It was closed. Asked the maintenance workers when they would be done and they said, “About 11!” So for 3 and a half hours we waited. On the good side, we befriended a manatee. After he got comfortable with us, Pam squirted him in the face with fresh water – which ended that relationship. Travel on the ICW is calm but we see lots of dolphins, people in boats, interesting homes and docks. Moved on to New Smyrna Beach (not sure if there is an old one.) Going through Daytona for Palm Coast tonight, St. Augustine tomorrow.

NASA train bridge

Friendly manatee
Gator waiting for lunch