Tuesday, April 23, 2013

On the move!

Early morn in St. Augustine

 We left St. Augustine at an early hour and you can see how calm it was. It made for interesting reflections on the water of the boats and the lights from the Bridge of Lions.

Looking to the east from our boat we got the beautiful sunrise with the interesting definite edge of the darker clouds reflecting in the water as well.

Sunrise at St. Augustine

Flowers beautifying Fernandina streets.

We motored to Fernandina Beach where we decided to stay two nights on a mooring ball.  We always enjoy this town looking at the shops and just going for walks to see such sights as these pretty flowers along the sidewalk at one corner and the cute church across the street.  We were a bit disappointed in finding our favorite Pizza Restaurant not open on Tuesday so we went to the fish market and got some shrimp to cook on board.  It's healthier any way!

We hopped over to Cumberland Island the next day to wait for better wind conditions to head out in the ocean.  We enjoyed our usual hike on this beautiful island.  I got a great shot of the wild horses and the ruins of Dungeoness all in one.
They don't look very wild here.

 We left Cumberland the next morning to head out the inlet to come in at Charleston.  We were hoping the weather guru was correct, that the ENE winds would clock around and become SE.  Well they did, just after motor sailing for 24 hours as we entered  Charleston Inlet! The one good thing of our trip in the ocean were once again the dolphins that came around sunset to give us a show.  I finally got a super shot of one leaping out of the water!

What a sight!

As we headed in the inlet the race boats were heading out for it was Charleston Race Week.

One of the many racing boats heading out from Charleston Harbor.

Al in socks, shoe, fleece and long pants for the first time since the fall.
 We decided that we did not want to deal with all that activity and so headed up the ICW to anchor in a creek.  Well, we passed three creeks that we thought we might stop at.  The current and winds were so favorable for moving up the ICW that we just kept going for another 6 hours.  We finally anchored in the great spot of Minum Creek which was perfect for the front predicted to come through.  And it did come through with lots of rain cleaning our salt encrusted boat for which we were thankful.  But with that front came the plunging temperatures.  We went from shorts and sleeveless to long pants and fleece and this was in South Carolina! 

We headed into Georgetown, SC to get out of the 30 knot winds.  Luckily the winds changed to the north which made the harbor a perfect spot to be.  We stayed two days and enjoyed a great meal at a new place in town called the Krazy Fish on the main street.  It is a casual kind of eclectic place with a very interesting menu.  My lightly pan fried catfish with a light lemon cilantro glaze over rice was fantastic with an interesting salad and veggies.  Al had a shrimp sausage combination which was also delicious.  The owner and waiter could not have been more accommodating.  The price was reasonable and we both took doggie bags with us. We will be back on the next trip!

We left in 30 knot winds but once through Winyah Bay it was not bad in the Wacamaw River we we pulled in to Osprey Marina for two nights.  It had been down into the low forties at night, so being able to plug in was a real treat.  It was the first time to stay at a marina since last November! It is in the middle of nowhere but  an Italian restaurant called Scatori's will pick you up and bring you back so we decided to try it for a late lunch.  There is a great grocery store next door which you can shop before you are driven back.  The restaurant also had fantastic food.  I have never seen Al eat so much bread using it to eat every last bit of the spaghetti sauce!  Needless to say, I did not have to make dinner that night.  Yeah!
Well protected and clean marina!

Also besides being well protected and a very clean marina,  I should mention Osprey has some of the lowest fuel prices on the ICW.  It is a gem in the middle of nowhere!

We are now passing Myrtle Beach and will be in Wrightsville Beach, NC. in a day or two hoping the weather warms up again!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Birds, Bridges, Bikes and Bistro

We left Vero as planned but not before having Blair and Mary from Strathspey for dinner on Blue Heaven.  It was great visiting with them again and hearing about their visit to Cuba (They are Canadians and so can go there legally!). 

Riverside Cafe in Vero Beach
We also visited the Riverside CafĂ© one more time with Curt and Kathy from Five and Dime.  Can’t beat their Happy Hour prices and Fish Taco!  Another night we had dinner on Five and Dime with Tilt and Discovery.  Afterwards we played the game “Sequence” and it was a close match between the sexes but the men pulled it out this time.

Saying goodbye to Five & Dime
We said our goodbyes to Kathy and Curt our mooring partners and motor sailed most of the morning. 

The wind picked up and we were then able to sail a nice gentle sail to Cocoa.  I got to do some rug hooking, so it was my kind of sail.  You can see I started a Christmas pattern which I had purchased before I left.  I knew I did not have time to design another one, so I do purchase patterns once in a while.
Another rug hooking project I started.

The next day we also got to sail to Titusville and there we picked up a mooring  after going through several bridges which had some welcoming committees there to greet us.  How about this cormorant drying his wings and scratching his back at the same time! 
Welcoming Committees at most bridges.

One talented cormorant!

The new "Cruiser's Caravan" at Titusville Marina.
After lunch we used Titusville's new “Cruiser’s Caravan” to go to Publix for groceries and Napa for oil and filters.  The van’s first use was Monday and this was Wednesday so it was bright and shiny and smelled brand new.  We had read about it on Active Captain, that eighteen business went together to buy the van to attract more cruisers to the Titusville area.  What a change because so many communities are fighting to keep us from anchoring in Florida.  We are welcomed in Titusville so show your support!

 The next day we sailed again (this has been unusual sailing so much in the ICW) to Daytona area where we anchored opposite of Halifax Marina in front of this gorgeous house. 
It is a house, not a hotel!
 It was blowing quite a bit which made it a bit uncomfortable but finally the wind quieted down for the night for a good night’s sleep. 

Leaving the anchorage the next morning the bridge was opening up for us and Al came out a little too soon and ran us aground.  The bridge had to be lowered again but with Al powering up he got us to plow through and free ourselves for the next opening with two other boats.  We motored sailed and got to St. Augustine where we got one of the last few mooring balls available almost as far south in the field as you can get but we got one!  We went in for showers and a walk and then just chilled for the rest of the evening. 

Bike racers starting the race in St. Augustine.
We went in to town to find that they were having a bike race on the main street.  It was fun to watch them but this is one sport Al and I know nothing about.  Al had wanted to go to Sailor’s Exchange to see what all the talk was about among cruisers.  It was like Sailorman in Fort Lauderdale where all sorts of used parts for boats are for sale.  We spent over 1 ½ hrs. there  and got one small part, which I did without complaining even though there is nothing of interest to me, but he is patient when I go into stores so I thought it pay back time.  

Having lunch with Mary and Blair at the King's Bistro
Afterwards we met Mary and Blair at the King’s Bistro.  They had recommended it.  When Al and I first got there, we said is this it?  It did not look like much from the outside, but this was a perfect example of not judging a book by its cover.  Inside had only about ten tables but the food was delicious, the presentation great and the price reasonable.  We will definitely visit there again.  
Great food and presentation!

We said our goodbye to Mary and Blair because they are keeping their boat for the summer in Florida and heading back to Ottawa to work for a few months. 

We invited Tim and Paula from Hooligan who traveled up from the Daytona anchorage with us for drinks and got to find out what sailing on the west coast, Mexico and south was like.  They have spent the past five years there. This is their first time on the east coast so we shared our knowledge with them as well.

Sunday dawn cloudy but we lucked out without getting wet.  I visited The Cathedral Basilica, the oldest church on the east coast, for mass.  Then Al and I had a lazy day reading and going in for walks.  We are heading to Fernandina tomorrow which is a sixty some mile day so we thought we should get as much exercise as we could today.  Drizzle came around 5pm so we lucked out.  Further north they had some nasty storms.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Back in the Good Old USA

Saturday, March 30th we were in Great Sale Cay with Sun Cat which is a usual staging place for boats to come in and then leave for the crossing to the states.

Al going to replace zincs.

Al decided it was one of his last chances to change the zincs and grease the prop, so into the water he went to do so.  It still amazes me how clear the water is that you see his legs so clearly.

He is down under the boat and look how clear it is!

It was a nice quiet anchorage so I got to kayak and  see some of the wild life along the coast in the water and on land. However, I did not have to leave the boat to see wild life because this one bird came and hopped around the boat like it owned it.  The birds must know to come out for handouts because later a second bird came.  We actually had to shoo them off because we did not want them down below or doing their business where ever they wanted.
Friendly bird came calling in Great Sale Cay.

We left the anchorage around noon.  Tom on Sun Cat decided to leave 2 hours earlier because we motor faster than Sun Cat.  Another boat named Bob Ra Anne left the anchorage the same time we did.  Their boat was a Bristol also, so we were together for practically the entire crossing.   
Blue Heaven heading into the sunset.
The winds were very light so we motored until around 11PM when the winds picked up to 15-18 knots.  We sailed through the night and got into Fort Pierce inlet around 8am.  We only got close to one ship which was the Disney Ecstasy cruise ship which was lit up like a Christmas tree.  Al called the ship to confirm that our closest point of approach would miss the ship.  The captain responded with a strong accent, “Thank you for your co-operation.”  Any time buddy, any time.  We don’t want to hit you or be hit by you!

Sun Cat went in the St. Lucie inlet because he was taking the boat across the Okeechobee waterway to a friend’s private dock.  So we said our good byes over the radio about 4am.  We headed for Fort Pierce inlet.  When we went to start the engine to come in the inlet the starter motor would not start.  Luckily, Al knew how to jump the engine battery from the house battery and in we went.  We motored up to Vero Beach and got a mooring ball for awhile.  We need to decompress and catch our breath after the last two weeks.  Also, everyone at home says it still way too cold to head north.  So when we finally decide to leave we will probably go slowly because Al hates the cold.

We took our first showers off the boat since December.  We both just let the water run on us for at least 30 minutes.  Aaaaaaah.  It felt so good!  We went with some friends to Riverside restaurant’s happy hour and met some new cruisers, as well as this friendly pelican who would barely even move so we could get on the dock.  
Our welcoming committee at Riverside.
 Another day we went grocery shopping and it was like sensory overload with all the selections.  It was wonderful to see hearts of Romaine lettuce for less than seven dollars!

We celebrated Al’s April 2nd birthday on Blue Heaven with Cathy and Curt on Five and Dime who are tied up with us on the mooring ball and Chris and Craig on Tilt.  We had a good time and good meal and of course birthday cake.  I don’t think my mind is still functioning well because I somehow forgot to take pictures.  Why, I don’t know.

We have pulled the folding bikes out and have done some biking down to the beach.  It is a bit different looking beach than in the Bahamas with lots more people and condos and homes along it.  
A bit different kind of beach than those in the Bahamas.
 This town is one of my favorites so I am ready to explore some more.  It looks like I will have time because Al ordered a new antennae for the AIS.  Delivery date is next Monday so we will probably be here at least until next Tuesday.