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.
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.
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.