So if you haven’t kept up with us on Facebook, let me update you on our sail south. We left Jekyll island on Tuesday. We knew we wouldn’t have great weather for very long, but we also knew we needed to leave the dock. We had stayed 3 days past our paid up fees and needed to leave before we incurred more fees.
We sailed the ICW down to Cumberland island and hung out there a few days. As nice as it was, it was not without incident. Somehow we managed to run aground while at anchor. Now that takes real talent. Actually the winds pushed us farther and our anchor dragged a bit. This all took place on our second day. Once the tides were high enough, we pulled up anchor and moved to a deeper spot. What can I say. It made for an interesting post.
When Chris Parker said the weather was going to be better, we decided to go out of the St Marys sound, knowing that we would probably have a few hours of big winds but not big seas until it all settled into a pattern that we could be comfortable with. We probably should have waited. Going out the sound between Cumberland island and Fernanda beach was the worst conditions we have ever endured. I was feeling
cautious, no, I was pretty scared and wondering how much of this we would have to endure before it got better. And praying that it was just temporary and once we got out farther the seas would settle. They didn’t. To say it was miserable would be an understatement. I have been on many a boat and don’t get seasick. This day was not one of those days. Any time I had to go below was the worst. After about 6 hours of this, Keith had mercy on me and decided to duck into Jacksonville and anchor for the night. This allowed us two things. One was the opportunity to wait out better weather conditions and the other was to repair the brand new chart plotter we had just purchased. For some unknown reason it decided to just shut itself off randomly until it decided not to come back on at all. It was very interesting coming into an anchorage without a chart plotter and depth finder. After anchoring, we found our water wasn’t running. Fortunately it was just a loose hose, and Keith fixed it rather quickly.
We were exhausted.We slept well that night.The next morning Keith wired the chart plotter directly to the battery in hopes that it would work accurately. We ventured back out into the big Atlantic Ocean and sailed south. The weather was much better. Well, the waves were much smaller. The winds were ok. Contrary at times. It was a great ‘day sail’. But our chart plotter decided that it wasn’t going to work so we decided to go into St Augustine, hang out there for a few days and check things out. The problem was, we were going to get there after dark so that meant we had to spend many hours tooling around until it was light enough to go in the inlet. As I said before, the wind was contrary and made it impossible to sail in any direction without having to tack, (change the sails to the other side of the boat) several times.
I took the 8-12 shift all set with my kindle, crackers and m&m’s and did well until around 11:30 when Keith relieved me. I was so nervous that I never looked at my kindle or ate my crackers or m&m’s. I’ve done night sails before. But this one was more difficult and made me more nervous. The auto pilot had died earlier requiring constant steering. The chart plotter quit working again and had to rely on the iPad. Thank goodness for the iPad. Keith got up at 11:30 and sent me to bed. I readily went. At 2:30 I checked on him and he sent me back to bed and said he would come get me when he was ready. While I was sleeping, Keith hooked up our old back up Garmin chart plotter. Thank goodness we kept it. At 4am we traded off. He gave me my instructions and headed to bed. I did well for about an hour and a half. Then we got close to shore and the winds were contrary again. I started seeing boats but not until they were close by. I started getting scared and woke him up. I felt so bad. I know he was exhausted. But he got up and we guided the boat into the inlet as the sun was coming up. We called the bridge at 7am and asked them to open, came thru and found our mooring ball that we were assigned. Keep in mind, we have only picked up a mooring one other time, a year ago. I guided the boat as Keith used the boat hook to grab the mooring and tied our boat securely to it. Whew. First try even! What a relief to a stressful night.
what a mooring ball looks like
So here we sit at St Augustine enjoying life. Licking our wounds. Working on the electronics that failed us. The plan is to stay here until the weekend. Work on stuff, do laundry, get a few groceries and explore the area. So far, so good.
He even does laundry
update: Now that I have wifi and can post, I can tell you that the chart plotter is getting sent back, but we won’t have another one until they send it to us. We won’t wait for it here as we have our backup chart plotter. Keith worked on the auto pilot so we will see if its corrected or has a bad motor. We will probably leave here on Saturday or Sunday and head south again.
When we were members of the Rome sailing club, there was an award that went out once a year called the rocking chair award. This award was reserved for the boater that exhibited the greatest screw up of the year. Such as drilling a hole in your boat and finding water. Keith almost got the award one year for jumping off the little boat we had at the time and watching it sail away without him. He was used to the other boat we had, falling off and waiting for him. Nope. This one sailed off leaving him in the middle of the lake having to swim to shore.
Yesterday we exhibited another such screw up. We have been anchored at Cumberland island for a day or two waiting out the windy conditions that weather guru Chris Parker says we will have. Yesterday as the tide went out, we noticed how close we were to a shoal. Aka, sandbar. We said we would move the boat as the tide came in so we wouldn’t have any trouble leaving in the morning. Well, as the tide came in, we decided we never actually ran aground during low tide and having justified that, we took the lazy way out and stayed put. Here’s the thing……there’s a time and a place for being lazy on the boat. Yesterday was not it.
Fast forward to today. The tide is going out and we are not. Overnight the winds shifted and pushed us over the shoal. We are paying the price for being lazy yesterday. Now we wait for the tide to finish going out, then for it to come in enough for it to lift us off so we can move the boat. There may be a silver lining to this. We had Planned on motoring south on the crooked and treacherous intracoastal waterway to Jacksonville and anchoring there so we could go out the inlet tomorrow as the weather becomes more pleasant for sailing. Being on the ICW is more protected from the winds, and it gives you the opportunity to move along while waiting for better sailing conditions. But it’s not without risks. Unfortunately there are tons of places to run aground in route. So since we are getting such a late start, we will stay here one more night and then head out the st marys inlet, thus avoiding the route to Jacksonville. It’s a little inconvenient but it’s still an adventure. Ask me tomorrow when it’s all over.
So the rocking chair award, reserved for the most absurd screw up,goes to us for running aground while at anchor.
This was my blog post 2 years ago. I am happy to say that I have overcome my fears of overnight sailing. I didn’t say I liked them, just that it doesn’t scare me so much as it did then. I prefer to see things at all times, especially if things start to go wrong. I love gazing at the stars as much as anyone, but I’d rather do it at anchor. But truthfully, there really isn’t much to see at night out on the water. We hardly ever see another boat or ship. If the winds get out of hand or the waves get larger than they were, then its not really enjoyable in my opinion. In a crisis, I like to be able to see what’s going on. Thats just me. I’m sure Keith would disagree to some extent. He loves the nighttime sail. And that is why he gets the midnight to 4am watch. When I am getting up at 4am, I know its almost time to watch the sunrise. We still have different ideas of adventure.
What’s your adventure
Adventure…… websters dictionary defines this word several different ways. 1.An undertaking usually involving danger and unknown risks… and 2, an exciting or remarkable experience.
Everyone has their idea of what their ultimate adventure would be. The other night Keith and I got into a thought provoking conversation. He asked me if I wanted an adventure. Of course I do. But my idea of an adventure is not the same as his idea of an adventure. His idea of an adventure is number 1, “One usually involving danger and unknown risks”. He has never been one to let fear get in his way. Mine is number 2. “An exciting or remarkable experience”. My idea doesn’t involve danger and unknown risks.Traveling to new places is an adventure to me. It seems safe enough. Here’s the thing, neither is wrong in their thinking.
During this discussion, we talked about our future and what we would like to do and where we would like to go and what risks we were willing to take to achieve this. I hate to admit this, but I am a worry wart. I worry about things that haven’t even happened yet. So naturally I worry about all the bad things that can go wrong. But I won’t let it interfere with our plans to sail to new places. Sometimes we get ahead of ourselves in planning trips. It’s not wrong to dream it. But when we start talking about doing several days at sea, (that means possibly no land in sight), then I get scared. Why? Because I’ve never done it before. It may be great. I have certainly heard stories of couples that do this and love it. Maybe I will too.
I want to be one of those people that take risks. I am willing to bet that the enjoyment level is so much more if you had to take risks to get where you wanted to go. And once you got there, what an achievement and thrill it would be. I’ll get there. Life is too short not to go out there and enjoy it.
We are officially unemployed. And when I say we, I mean keith.(I’ve been unemployed for 2 years) Keith has worked his last shift at Gordon Hospital. sigh. They were very good to him and we will both miss the folks there. But it’s finally time to take a few months off and enjoy traveling. We will both get jobs later this year. Not sure where.Not sure when. Hopefully somewhere where we can stay on the boat. Keith should get to do locum tenens, so maybe someplace exciting.
We did get to be up in north Ga for the last 2 weeks. The snow was pretty, but I missed my warmer weather down south. We spent some quality time with 2 of our kids. It was birthday week for all the men in our little family. Our youngest is active duty Air Force and spending a few months working in Okinawa so he couldn’t be there. We were stationed there ourselves 20 years ago. He still remembers some of it.
Keith and the grand dog Bullet
We are working very hard to get ready to leave. Our new lifejackets came in and we each now have our own personal EPIRB’s. Note for you landlubbers: those are small beacons that attach to our life jackets and send out a signal to the Coast Guard, should one of us fall overboard. Something I found out by reading the box, is that if we ever have to use it and are found by the Coast Guard, the company will give us a free replacement. Dear Lord, thats one piece of equipment I hope to never have to use.
We are waiting on one more piece of mail to come in. Our new Garmin chart plotter. Once we get it, Keith can install it. Update: the chart plotter arrived and well, installing it will be easier said than done. Nothing ever comes easy on a boat.
new life jackets and EPIRB’s.
Stuffing groceries everywhere
We are so close to being able to leave. We are watching the weather very closely. We need about 4 days of good weather all in a row. We are hoping to take our first day and motor down to Cumberland Island. Anchor there for one night, more if the weather makes us. From there, we will go on the outside and scoot down the Atlantic coast. At this point, we don’t know where we will end up. It all depends on what the weather decides to do. We do know we want to make a stop in Cocoa Florida. Then we have some boat work in Stuart Florida. We have discussed going to the Bahamas. But just not sure if we will make it this year. The big reason being is that our boat really needs new chainplates. They are supposed to be replaced every 20 years. Or so I’m told. Well, our boat is 29 years old and has never had them replaced. We are just not sure if we want to cross the Gulf stream with uncertain chainplates. So therein lies the rub. What to do? We will just have to go with what we are most comfortable with.
So we wait. We are both getting antsy. I think it will be several days before we can leave. Its okay. Life is still good.