Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Driving isn't nearly as much fun as floating

Drove 9 hours to Stuart and back to get our car - it was so strange to pass the town names of places we have stopped - whir - whizz - I 95 - Yuck.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Long and windy day

~ Fernandina Beach - Amelia Island, FL - Saturday we had a 9 hour day from St. Augustine to Fernandina with winds never going below 25 knots.  That is a very challenging stretch with little water in spots and now we are in 5 foot tides the currents are enormous and strong. We got through the bridge of lions @ 7:30 AM -

Saturday, March 27, 2010

We are looking for CREW

We are looking for a crew member to help Don  take our Westsail from Fernandina Beach, FL ( St Mary's GA area to either Beaufort or all the way to our final destination of Deltaville.  I have to go back to Maine to work so had planned to jump ship. WE have one crew and would like one more for a total of 3.  Experience off shore preferred, not totally necessary - This is more like a couple of weeks commitment than a couple of days.  We will pay expenses. Interested? Send us an email

Friday, March 26, 2010

Happy Birthday DON & TILLER!!

~ St Augustine 777.8 - Today is Don and Tiller's birthday - I know can you believe it? Tiller born on don's birthday - last year when Tiller asked if he could find his birth parents we said - ahh gee why not?  When we got the birth certificate - well there it was...March 26, 2008 :~)

We had an exciting night last night - a cold front blew through at 11:30 at 40 miles per hour.  We are on anchor amongst 25 boats - the holding here has a reputation for not being that great - it's worth it because we have access to St Augustine.  (There is a lot of current here - in fact we struggled a little when we anchored and the ind was blowing 15 - 20 against the current - the boat settled in and the wind had died at dinner time.) Now our boat was bucking like a bronc - we sleep forward in the V berth so woke up with  he first of the storm. Don got up and stayed up to watch and be sure we didn't drag or the boats around us.The top wind Don saw was 38 - that is not fun - quite frightening in fact though had we dragged we would have had to do what one person in the anchorage had to do - go out in the storm and drive the boat into the wind the best you can.  That where a an enclosure would be really great.

Don's favorite meal to eat out is breakfast and I desperately needed a shower so off we went to land - had  a wonderful omelet at the Greek restaurant, showered ( luxuriated actually ) We try to take sailors showers ( short ) but the St Augustine marina has real water pressure - ahhhh.

This picture of Tiller is the evening in Rock house Creek when we were on Claire and Dean's trawler - Tiller was jumping form our dingy to Barry's - what he didn't consider was that as he pushed off the 2 dinghies would be much farther apart - he made it, gratefully didn't claw into Barry's inflatable - it was quite a site - I don't know how long that jump was but longer than I have ever seen him jump ! Sami caught the pre jump form on he phone. Her is Barry putting Tiller back where he belongs ! Well off to town again and figure out where we can find a few groceries.  I'll get a pic of Don on his birthday scooter and post later.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A dolphin and a Pirate

777.8~ St Augustine - WE had a great evening in Daytona with Sami and Barry - cocktails on their boat and then dinner at Carribean Jacks across the river. We lef tour dingy up - Barry was generous enough to dingy us all with their tender as they are dragging theirs.  Great conversation about sailing, where we all came from , where we are all going ( who knows?) . Nice to be with folks who are enjoying the beauty and challenges of the ICW.  It's not just the ditch that some who have never done this think it is.  We have lots of challenges with water depths, navigation - we cross sounds, go up wide rivers, narrow rivers, into creeks, into historic little towns.  It's a challenge that takes patience and concentration. on our boat we are out in the weather as well. It can be cold or occasionally  very hot.  We had a long day from Daytona - we left at 7:30 and had to dilly dally as low tide a the Matanzas inlet was at noon. That is the spot to go aground this year.As the other boats that anchored in Daytona caught up with us we all chatted  we were puttering along palm Coast - had turned off our engine and had the jib out. that quiet. We let the 5 sailboats and 2 trwalers go by - after much chat about tide they slowed down as well. Ever After caught up as well and stayed caboose.  We got a call back on the radio from someone who was ahead of our 7 boats - he hit the inlet at dead low and gave us the instructions to go through.  We had to ignore the channel markers and go within 50 feet of the shore to keep enough water to get through. It was very distracting as Tow Boat was right there trying to tow of yet another boat that was in the middle of the marked channel and went aground.  The first boat just krept along and we all tried our best to follow his path.  Ever After was just far enough behind to see the lead boat's line - and ran aground - soft though because he was barely moving. They were able to back off - phew ! The only good news would have been that they would not have had to wait for the tow boat !

After we got through - we powered up and as if in celebration this dolphin came along side and swam with us for 20 minutes. Every time I thought he had gone because it had been too long in between his breaches - up he would pop spraying us and getting Tiller really excited.Tiller would get up on the rail and then when the dolphin popped up he would flatten his ears and his body down while still trying to dare to peek at the dolphin.  This was so much fun and the wind had cranked up that we didn't notice for a little while that we were being followed by a pirate !                    This guy must have come out of the anchorage at the fort and saw our Maine hailing port.  he cranked up his outboard and caught us at an opening bridge we had to slow down for.  He started his trip in Sioux City, Iowa and is on his way to Brooklin , Maine.  yes it that boat.  holly cow - all types  - see that blue flag he is flying - that's the Maine state flag ! Click on the first picture to make it bigger to get a perspective of how this guy is a little exposed to the elements. Our boat is 22,000 lbs and regularly rocked by motor boats passing by - we just can't imagine this young guys bravado or .....

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

From Paradise to Daytona

~ Daytona - Alas - we decided to stay another day in Rock House Creek to socialize with our new friends Claire and Dean on their new ( to them ) CHY Trawler named "Southern Comfort" and our friends from Stuart Sami and Barry on "Ever After". Claire has been wanting a cat on board so we were asked to Bring Tiller with us. He loved the space and proved to her he could climb the outside ladder. She wanted to be sure a boat cat could -('course he could ) She tried to trade us her stuffed cat for Tiller - but no such luck. We had a nice social hour on their boat  until the no-see-ums invaded. of the advantages of this cold windy winter down here - no bugs.  We woke to 55 degrees again in the cabin this morning - a bit chilly.  Now in our less than gorgeous anchorage in Daytona between 2 bridges and just out of the  channel it's a beautiful 70 degree day.  We work every day to not get too much sun exposure. Difficult on our open cockpit boat but the trip to here was just 2 1/2 hours.  Claire and Dean have gone to a marina - ahhh a shower - forgot what that feels like .... We are anchored with Barry and Sami and will dingy over to Caribbean Joe's for dinner.  Tomorrow comes the Dicey - W - tricky spots all day - not looking forward to that but I will say we have goteen pretty good a them. Don's instincts are very good - a few years of experience on the ICW helps and lots of research about the tide and asking other boaters. A little disconcerting that every few hours the Coast Guard comes on the marine radio with a warning about running aground at the Matanzas inlet but they don't hop in their little boat and go move the markers so the deep water would again me in the middle.  They have that spot marked by floating cans - not hard to move. Instead we have found out we are to go through the area getting as close tot he red cans as we can without taking paint off them. Yikes -

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Another beautiful Cape Cod morning

~Rockhouse creek - scrub palms instead of scrub pine but this spot has me pining for Cape Cod - what a beautiful morning - Our view was improved by our friends on "Forever After" (one of only 8 Shuckers) who were in Stuart with us and now are in Rock House Creek with us. Alas - we must leave in an hour or 2 and get to Daytona to position ourselves for Matanzas inlet tomorrow in hopes of hitting the tide correctly and not being one of 40 or more boats to run aground in the past few weeks !! We had some wind last night but we are just 250' from shore on either side so no bounce - so well protected here.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Florida you have never seen

~RockHouse Creek 842.2 ~ We love this place - what a gorgeous anchorage. Yesterday afternoon it rained for about 3 hours while Don slept - I read - wanting to make a few calls but didn't want to wake Don so I just kept watch in case the storm got too bad.  Around 5 it stopped and though colder it was gorgeous . It's impossible with my point and shoot camera to do this place justice.  Our view through the creek and into the inlet is as close as I have been to sitting on the yacht club beach in Wellfleet and looking at Great Island. As the tide goes out several very large sand flats are left. In our view we can see nothing but marsh, sand, water, the waves hitting the sea wall at the ocean's inlet  and dolphins - many many dolphins.  The light after the rain was gorgeous. Cape Cod soft. As the sun went down there was just a few minutes that the white sand actually had a light green tint.  The dolphins were feeding such a frenzy they created a fairly large wake. Just to the left of my photo was a really unattractive boat so I couldn't get a full view zoomed in.  This morning we called the Halifax Yacht Club in Daytona ( aka the Taj Mahal ) where we were going to dock for a couple of nights for just $24. a night.  No luck - they didn't have room - YEAH! We get to spend the day here.  We launched the dingy, packed a picnic and headed for the beach.
It was getting quite windy - but we headed for the beach to the right of the inlet anyway.  We thought if we walked around the bluff we would be out of the wind. No luck. We ate lunch and realized the wind was picking up so we decided to get back across the open water towards the creek side. Trouble was the fetch was big enough that we had a heck of a time getting the dingy launched back into the water.  We had to put Don in the middle, have him start rowing for his life  though we were hardly making any headway - when we got deep enough I could put the motor down and get us safely across. Don was so mad at himself because his instinct had told him not to cross with all the wind and the current the inlet causes.  He knew I wanted to go to the ocean so off we went.  When we got safely back to the creek side we went down a smaller side creek to a beautiful beach - out of the wind - what we should have done in the first place.  We at least had done everything else right - we had life jackets, one phone, the hand held radio,a whistle and our oars. We just got a little wet but that is far from a first.  A healthy respect of the wind and the tide against our 8' Fatty Knees dingy is always a good thing.
 A very windy afternoon - we'll head to Daytona tomorrow to anchor in the river to position ourselves for the tricky run to St. Augustine.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The dolphins make me happy !

~mile 842.2 - Rock House Creek ~ Pretty good night on the anchor in Titusville - a little breezy mid - night - another 6:30 alarm clock - hard so soon after the clocks change but another beautiful sunrise as we got off at 7:15.  Easy trip to Rock House Creek - one of our favorite anchorages by the Ponce Inlet. Unfortunately about to get wholloped by a storm so not putting the dingy in the water.  Trying to map out our trip north to be sure we are at the Fort Mantanzas Inlet at high tide. it's 15 miles or so from St. Augustine and in the past several weeks Tow Boat reports 35 - 40 boats have grounded. Depths have not been a problem so far. I dread that whole ride int o St Augustine - tricky and shallow for miles. So far though our trip has been uneventful -   A few thin spots but we know them pretty well. The ICW takes due diligence, patience and at times the big slow up.  Went through the Haulover canal today - it's so pretty in there - lots of fisherman families on a  Sunday morning. Lots of birds. Saw lots of dolphins today as we went through Mosquito Lagoon.  There are many spoil islands - little sandy treed oasis's  - we can see weekend campers with their tents and little boats on the beach. They have beautiful fine white sandy beaches.  Easy to be on a tiny island alone here. Been enjoying these 5 - 6 hour days with time to work and rest at anchor.
~ Yesterday we had a fun first - we passed another Westsail 32 on the waterway - he was headed south - this our third trip and we have seen other Westsails in our anchorage but never passed one. Then last night a knock on our hull - another Westsail 32 owner in Titusville (Scott) saw us anchored out - unfortunately we were tired and trying to sponge bathe - so Don just chatted with him for a few minutes - but would have been fun if he had stopped by earlier.  They are great boats and owners are certainly drawn to other owners. This is actually our boat in Maine -

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Summer has arrived

~ 878.1 Titusville - what a gorgeous day though NOAA was wrong again on the wind direction so no sailing.  Got to Titusville around 1 after another 7:30 departure.  Got fuel, pump out, water and were lucky enough that they weren't busy and were able to fit in one load of wash.  As a reminder - the mile numbers I put on the posts now that we are headed north are the distance on the waterway to Norfolk , VA - to put the boat away we have about 50 miles past that up the Chesapeake Bay. That many miles at 5 -6 miles an hour.  It's nice - you don't miss a thing.  78 degrees in the boat and over 80 in the sun - wow I guess we'll keep heading north - this is the warmest we have see all winter/spring. Remembering our trip with Greg and Michelle to Cape Canaveral last year - that was fun - miss you guys.

Tiller is not a lap cat

Ahhh….We had a beautiful anchorage last night beyond the Mathers bridge on the Banana River. We’ve blogged about this spot before – we just love it. It’s a patrolled no wake zone, a beautiful peaceful spot.  We anchored around 2;30 – still a little cool but sunny . I had to work for about 2 ½ hours- haven’t blogged much about that and some of our anonymous followers don’t know that ½ of our slow speed through life is because we are still working for a living ! Don spent the time changing our engine oil , and catching up on his calls. Unfortunately for my friends by the time I get off the phone for Bayside Rentals my enthusiasm for making calls has dwindled. We did eat in and had our heat on after dinner but with jackets on could finally sit out in the cockpit. We watched the dolphins feed, the pelicans dive bomb for their food right off our stern and the highest skilled rowers you ever saw practice their craft. There is a rowing training center right up one of the smaller canals.. We were the only boat.  So nice to be off a mooring and on anchor. I woke in the middle of the night and not a sound. Not a mooring tapping the side of the boat, halyards slapping in the wind, water lapping, trains, cars, planes, not even a welcomed bird sound. Dead quiet – the River is lined with waterfront homes and apartments so we are far from being in the wilderness – Merrit Island and the Indian River are between us and the mainland.   We just enjoyed our spot last night – no photos. Tiller is not a lap cat – so this is a rare one of a kind photo – he was cold !

Don’s foot is still a real problem for him. The up side is I am skippering much more often and have developed a lot more confidence. Don always has be skipper when we are sailing but motoring the waterway – it’s a different boat – a different deal. Today is easy – we are just going in a straight line up the Indian River – so using our auto pilot to be sure it works before Don and crew set sail off shore from northern Fl. on up to VA.  How do you like Don’s new mode of transportation to take the weight off his foot? The scooter makes him smile !:~) I love it because now we can go a mile.

We’ll anchor in Titusville tonight – get fuel, do laundry – then watch the weather and figure out what to do in the rain on Sunday.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Wind Blown

~914.2 - Made it to Dragon Point today from Vero beach - we had intended to skip Vero this time around but spent the day sailing, motor sailing and motoring from Stuart in consistent 25-30 knot winds with some gusts as high as 33 - Had our ski parkas on again ! But the sun was out and the boat was heeled a few times - what a lovely feeling that was.  The wind was just a little too on the nose to keep the jib up so we had to motor .  Forgot what it was like to have the boat heeling and all the things we thought were put away come crashing across the boat ! We got to the bridge at the Vero anchorage and it was still blowing 25 and up - made the decision to check out the anchorage - for one night we did NOT want to raft and di not want to launch the dingy.  They indeed had empty moorings so we picked one up - right behind Thumper Grand Banks 32 - Margaret & Bob who had just left us 2 days before from the mooring in front of us in Stuart.  They were kind enough to give Don a ride to Shore to shower and pay. It was nice to see them again as we are all on the road - smiling faces all around. Tired and to bed early - hate getting u while it's dark but love the light as the sun rises .  We were up again today at 6:30 - off the mooring at 7:30 - it was a beautiful morning heading by Johns Island and all the little spoil islands along the way - spring of sorts - though it was in the 40's still and again this morning. We hear Maine is having a warm spring ..hmmm.  Nice calm ride up the Indian River to Dragon pint - right into the wind - due north - so no sails today - but motor running great - cat settled in - crew seems happy enough.  We changed the oil when we got to the anchorage above the Mathers bridge.  Beautiful here - quiet , sunny , warm with just a bite to the breeze. Working hard to figure out our tracks. The bridge in St. Augustine is closed part of the time - we won't be able to get through it until the 27th of March.  Need to time our fuel stops, head pump out and laundry and shower some where along the way.   We saw a gorgeous site today, a Sunfish Regatta off our starboard side near Melbourne.  We counted 55 sails - mostly white - that was a disappointment for someone who taught sailing on a Sunfish when i was 11?12? Something like that.  Don figured they are higher tech sails - there were a few coloful stripped ones thrown in - how can parents on land know who is ahead? I remember my mother watching our lightning races from ashore and when the spinnakers came out she and the others on the beach knew exactly the order of things.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

North bound

~ We'll be leaving Stuart tomorrow Thursday for points north - we have had a great stay here despite our raw water pump issues - the weather continued to be cool - cruisers continued to go no where ~ and many who did have come back ~so we are all left with a great winter of camaraderie to take home with us. Our friends Dick and Libby went across teh Okochobee to the west coast. This is Dick up the mast of their westsail 32 before they left - taking off the antenna in hopes of making it under an iffy bridge  - we hear they did !

Let's not forget now it's Red on Left !!!! :~)  

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Tiller in charge , Ilo, Kyle and Joe

Still in Stuart   we get our new gear in on Tuesday - in the meantime Tiller is instructing over Don's shoulder - it's going really well ! Last night we saw Don's cousin Joe Klemick (aka Klem ) play with Ilo at a bar/club - really fun and great sound.  Ilo's story of how Jimmy Buffet discovered him is fun to read at Ilo Ferreira .com - listen to some of his music there -though now the band is Klem, Ilo and Kyle who plays the guitar. There is no more enthusiastic kid trying to make it in music than Kyle - Kyel's from Seattle and has only been with Ilo and Joe for 3 weeks - tagging along @$25.00 a day in hopes of really making a living with his music some day.  He already has on his resume being on the same stage playing with Jimmy Buffet - so who knows....Cousin Joe has played with NRBQ and Entrain. It has been a long time since he and Don had been able to connect other than by phone so they had a wonderful visit. They are playing again tomorrow in Delray Beach during the afternoon so we may have to go hear them again.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Diesel Mechanics we are not

Still working on our engine problem. There is such a great community of boaters here in Stuart and many with lots  f knowledge and experience willing to pass it along - Thankfully - as we have needed the help and advice so willingly given.  We got the water pump and alternator back on - now need to clean the filter and figure out how t use and buy feeler gauges to calibrate the engine(?) So a quick entry while my dial up searches for the location of the Sears in Stuart - More photos of Miami and Matlacha...

Friday, March 5, 2010

Livin' on Land for a day in Matlacha

~ Still in Stuart - still trying to get the engine fixed - Don has driven to Fort Peirce to stand over the mechanic who said the part would be fixed on Thursday. We are fearful of him closing for the weekend and still no part.  We need to start our journey north.   We had a great - too short - trip to the west coast - We liked Fort Meyers and loved our stay in Matlacha - funky, fun, colorful - just my style.  Photo is of our motel  - the motel is on a dock - it was wonderful to have the water view on such a windy day but nothing was bouncy. Great to sleep in a bed and not share the shower room. We watched the dolphins fee right out the room window ! Sean and Joan stayed there in February and gave us the information - it was a real kick.

We got to the village late in the afternoon after a day of looking at boats so had just enough time to wander around the art galleries before heading off to Bert's Bar ( everyone including Sean and Joan says that's here to go for dinner ). It was delicious and again - a funky atmosphere of real bar flies, pool players, very senior citizens who had come for all you can eat fish fry night and just about everything in between.  The honky tonk music started at 6;30 - we were too tired and people were waiting for tables so we scidaddled back to our room to sleep in a real bed ...ahhhhh......

On the way back we drove north of Lake OKeechobee, we were really surprised by the vastness of the landscape, the ruralness, the huge ranches, thousands of cows. It felt like we were in Montana. It was clearly an impoverished  area, extremely interesting to see but no where I ever would like to live by a long shot !

49 degrees in the boat this morning - the winter that won't end.  

Monday, March 1, 2010

Engine woes

~ Stuart and standing still - the water pump on our engine needs a rebuild - sounds simple - it's not -Thankfully our friend Rod was able to help Don take it all apart.  The water pump was inaccessible so instead of watching the Olympic Hockey game they toiled in the engine space where they clearly don't  fit. To reach the water pump they had to take out the motor mounts, strap the engine to the boom so they could take it's wight off the floor of the boat, they ahd to remove the alternator and then try to get the pump off.  The last bolt was frozen and rusted - the head was stripped.  So they gave it up for the night - we got to see just the end of the game ! Happy for Canada - quite a contest ! Doris and Rod fed us and loaned us more tools. In the morning Don and I were able to get me in the engine compartment from above - he got as far in as he could from inside the boat - with a mirror,patience and finess were able to pound the tool Rod lent us onto the bolt - it was hard because Don had to look at it through a mirror - he held the tension on the ratchet and I was able to put all my night into carefully turning it without wiggling it up or down.  It worked - we were able to strip it off.

Then we drove to Fort Pierce to drop it off at the diesel repair place.  Stopped at the ocean on our way back - too cool for beachgoers so it was beautiful and empty.