Our mission -- Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enter .. OOPS, sorry, I got carried away. Let me start again.

Our mission -- Warm Waters and Great Weather: The final frontier. These are the voyages of the Motor Vessel Traveling Soul. Its five-year mission: to explore strange warm waters, to seek out new forms of recreation and new civilizations, to boldly go where no Brown, Applegate or Higgins has gone before.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Second Letter from the Abacos

After the wind aborted our planned nights at Tahiti Beach, we went to the Marsh Harbor anchorage. It is pretty well protected from all directions and, since the wind direction was confusing us, we thought that would be a good refuge. We anchored, and, although we eventually got the generator started, knew that we would have to get someone to fix it – again. So, we decided to go to a marina in Hopetown, on Elbow Cay.

We had been in Hopetown before and really liked it. It has the big lighthouse that is one of only two hand-lighted lighthouses in the world. In fact, my original John Everett painting has the Hopetown lighthouse prominently featured. We arrived at the Hopetown Inn and Marina on Friday the 13th and called Richard from Cook’s Marine Services. He said he would be by the following day.  So we spent the balance of Thursday ashore in Hopetown looking around. We only went into the northern half of the town, where we checked out some gift shops and … Oh, there happened to be a restaurant/bar that we also decided to check out! We had beer and some homemade potato chips (which were very, very good). While we were eating, we saw Al and Michelle, the folks from Kindred Spirit. That we had originally met on the ICW in Georgetown, SC – outside of the Rice Museum as a matter of fact and saw them again later in Vero Beach where we had Thanksgiving. We like Al and Michelle because they keep their AIS system on almost all the time – and we know when we are getting close to them. They had initially intended to head all the way down to the Exumas, but have changed their minds and decided to stay on a mooring at Hopetown. And … who can blame them? It is a lovely location.

Richard, our repairman, called to let us know he couldn’t be there until the following morning, so we took part of the second day in Hopetown to explore the southern half of the town. We walked across the island and spent a half-hour or so strolling on the Atlantic Beach. It was beautiful as always. We also discovered a new restaurant on the Atlantic side. We certainly haven’t been to all of the restaurants in Hopetown, of course, but I thought we knew where most of them were; of this one, though, I hadn’t even heard. I guess we‘ll have to try it out next time!

On Saturday, Richard finally came, spent maybe fifteen minutes on the generator, and had it running again (just so you know, the story is not over – stay tuned). He charged us $20. I mean I couldn’t give him $20. He had taken time out of his schedule and had come across the harbor to visit the boat. I was expecting to pay him at least $100. But, since he only expected $10, I gave him $40. He was happy, I was happy, all God’s children were happy … until the generator broke down again the following day.

We also saw SeaSparrow. We seemed to be going the same places. However, they were now on their way south to the Exumas and beyond. They are a fun couple and I hope we see them again.

There was one other event that occurred on Saturday the 14th. Army lost to Navy (AGAIN … FOR THE 12th YEAR IN A ROW!) It wasn’t a surprise in that the previous week Army had lost to Hawaii, which had a 0-11 record until they played the cadets. I know many of you think it is funny. To me, it is not. Can you imagine any of the great generals allowing one of his subordinates to lose battle after battle … without being fired? Can you imagine the losing spirit being built into the Corps of Cadets – or at least those cadets who played on the football team? Well, there was one positive outcome that derived from our scrubbing by Navy. West Point FINALLY fired its coach.

On to more pleasant things. The generator was repaired, so we decided to set out for Great Guana, about an hour-and-a-half away. The wind was blowing at 15-20 MPH, from the SW and we only had a little protection so we huddled into the shore as closely as we dared, found a sandy spot and dropped the anchor. The boat drifted backwards a little, then, wham – Bertha grabbed the bottom and we suddenly stopped. Yessss! This is how it is supposed to work! Over time the wind clocked around – just like the forecasts said it would we only had a little protection from the wind, so we had more and more protection as time went on. By the morning, the island was blocking most of the heavy wind.

The reason we wanted to go to Guana was because the (in)famous restaurant/bar “Nippers” was having one of its Sunday Pig Roasts. We had heard a lot about them, but had never been to one. So we went to Great Guana, anchored and ate pig. They had roast pork, barbecued pork, macaroni and cheese, xxx and a few other things. Needless to say I spent my time on mac and cheese and the two types of pork. Actually, it was surprisingly good – but very expensive. Though it was all you could eat, it was $24 per person, and that was without the semi-mandatory drink!

Monday morning when we tried to turn on the generator to bring up the dinghy – you guessed it – the generator wouldn’t work. We were going to anchor in Marsh Harbor for a coup-le of days, but in light of the generator-from-hell we decided we would go to the marina at Marsh and get someone to fix it once and for all. When we got there, we called Richard (who had repaired it in Marsh Harbor) to see if he could recommend anyone. He told us that he had some errands to run at Marsh Harbor and he could come look at it on Tuesday if we wanted him to. That was great – or so we thought. Actually, he told us late on Tuesday that he wouldn’t be able to show up after all, that it would be Wednesday. On Wednesday we left three messages for him, but didn’t hear anything back. On Thursday AM we finally got a call that said he would be over in a few minutes. On Thursday he looked at it and basically decided he didn’t know what was wrong with it. AAARRRGGHHH! He wasted so much of our time!

Earlier in the week, we had re-connected with Kathy, from August Sun. Her husband, Martin, was back in the States wrapping things up from his former job. Martin, it turns out, used to be a Marine Engineer. He was to large ships, in other words, what Scotty was to the Starship Enterprise. He used to fix big diesel engines for a living. Although I really don’t like asking fellow cruisers for help on a project, Martin volunteered to take a look at our generator.  I explained the symptoms – as I had for each of the THREE different repairmen who had worked on it previously – and I told him what each of them had done. He nodded his head and said (in a classic Australian accent) “Did you change the filter in the lift pump?” I looked at him with my classic dumb look … “Lift pump?” I asked. ”Filter?”

He then asked, “Well does your generator have a lift pump?”

“Lift Pump?” I asked. “I dunno.” We got out the manual and sure enough, there was a lift pump and filter right next to the fuel filter. He got down next to the generator and looked … sure enough the lift pump filter said, “Change every 200 hours.” Since I didn’t even know there was a lift pump in the generator – or that it had a filter – I was pretty sure it hadn’t been changed recently. Moreover, as it happens, we had a couple of extra lift pump filters in our spare parts container. Martin changed the filter and … voila … we haven’t had a generator problem since (knock on wood). So, if you ever visit the boat and, sitting in my captain’s chair, I burst out with, “Martin, I need more power!” You will know I am just trying to emulate James T. Kirk, of the Starship Enterprise, calling for power from Mr. Scott, his Chief Engineer.

Ok, besides getting the generator fixed, we did two other things of note. First, we cleaned the boat. I mean we really cleaned her inside and out. We needed to; after a couple of weeks in the sea air, she needed a good scrubbing. We also cleaned her inside. We used wood polish on our wooden bulkheads and “Barkeeper’s Helper” on all the stainless. In short, we have a very, very clean boat.

The second thing we did was to re-provision. Now this is more complicated than it should be because we are going from running a boat with two persons on board to a boat with seven persons aboard; a boat with 60+ year old people to a boat with two 18 year olds, one 14 year old and two 40-ish year old people. Guess what … we all eat and drink differently.


Monday, December 16, 2013

First Post from the Abacos - 2013

Crossing the Gulf Stream: From the US to the Bahamas
Some of you may remember how I waxed poetic on previous crossings. I talked about the blueness, the power, the beauty and the depth of the ocean; I talked about the magnificence of the Gulf Stream; I talked about many a thing. This time, though, not so much. The waves were forecast to be 2-3 feet in the morning, then 2-4 with an occasional 5 footer in the afternoon. Although we weren’t afraid of 2 -4 foot seas we left early in the morning so we could get more of the 2-3 footers than the 2-4 footers.  Well, folks I am here to tell you that we couldn’t see the two, three or four footers because of all the 5+footers!!!! AND they were head-on. That meant that every six foot wave lifts the bow of the boat six feet in the air just in time to drop it into the trough and run straight into another six-footer. Bang! Bang! Man that was rough. Oh! Since I am doing sound effects I forgot the squeeeel of the bilge alarm telling me that the bilge pump was pumping all that water overboard. (I like the pump part, just not the screeching part.)

Now you shouldn’t get the impression that we were in any danger or felt threatened. My whole crew (Ann) spent much of the crossing in the saloon splitting her time between reading and sleeping. I guess she just inherited her grandfather’s nautical disposition.

Anyway, I tried all the tricks I knew to reduce the impact of the waves. I “tacked” at up to 30 degrees (meaning we zig-zagged 30 degrees off course northward, then 30 degrees off course southward. The net effect should have been to reduce the impact of the waves and still get us where we wanted to go – though much more slowly). I also reduced speed just before we were to hit a wave. I was trying to make it so we weren’t driving ourselves into the next wave, but were just falling into it. None of this worked very well. The only thing that worked was time. We eventually ran out of the Gulf Stream and made it to West End. “Whew!” as they say, “what a ride!”

Our time at West End (one night) wasn’t very eventful. We did go to the restaurant for the first time. We both had cracked conch and enjoyed it. There did seem to be fewer boats at the marina than had been there in our previous visits. I think the dockage fees were a little less than the first time we were there, but the cost of water and electric seem to have gone up. Oh well.

Great Sale Cay
Some of the boats near us at Great Sale Cay.
In contrast to our crossing of the day before, the water on the Little Bahama Bank was wonderful. There might have been one foot waves, but we didn’t notice them. We just put the boat on auto pilot and kept track of where we were. At about 1600 we arrived at Great Sale Cay – a wonderful anchorage we have used every time we traverse the bank. We dropped the anchor (using Big Bertha, the new 110 pound anchor that Ann named, for the first time), opened up the liquor cabinet and talked about the northern Abacos islands we would explore over the next several days. Then it happened. The generator conked out.

Now imagine. You have had almost the perfect boating day; tomorrow you were going to explore some cool islands that are off the beaten path – and maybe catch your first lobster; you had just eaten dinner and were completely relaxed. Then, the one system for which you have no back up fails. For most of the systems on the boat we have either redundant systems or work-arounds that will keep us up and running for a few days. Not so for the generator. If the generator fails, we have no way to recharge the inverter batteries. If we can’t recharge the inverter batteries we can’t run the refrigerator. If we can’t run the refrigerator, we stand to lose a lot of provisions that we have accumulated over time. I was … how can I put this delicately … royally pissed off. If I would have had a gun, I would have shot this boat and been done with it. (Now I know why boats and firearms don’t go together.) Anyway, now we had to change our plans. We had enough of a charge to make it to Green Turtle Cay the following day. There, they would have a mechanic, we were sure, who could either fix our generator or help me throw it overboard.

Green Turtle Cay
We made it to Green Turtle Cay and made it to another near-empty marina. It was a Saturday, of course, and we were concerned that we would have to wait to Monday to have someone look at the generator so we called ahead and the marina assured us that someone named Cameron would be there and ready to work on the generator. He got there about an hour after we did and worked on it for an hour or so. He couldn’t solve the problem. He was almost as frustrated as I was and was very apologetic, but it still wasn’t fixed. He said he would go straight to his car and call a friend of his who would know what to do. We hadn’t heard anything from Cameron by 1000 the following day so we called him back and asked him if his friend was coming, He told us that he was in the States but would be back in Green Turtle later that day. Meanwhile, Ann had searched for a Westerbeke generator distributor in the Bahamas and – lo and behold – there was one in Green Turtle Cay. (Westerbeke is the brand name of our generator.) It was Sunday, of course, and no one was there, but we had a lead for Monday morning in case we didn’t hear from Cameron’s friend.

On Monday, we finally connected with the Westerbeke distributor who told us we should call their technician, George. It turns out that Cameron’s friend’s name was also George. (In case you hadn’t guessed, it is a small island.) George said he would be out later that day, so, even though we had been invited to a party, we stayed on the boat waiting. He didn’t show.

The generator wasn't the only thing that went wrong. We also
sprang a leak in our fresh water system. But we have become
 experts in fixing leaks. Here is Ann deeply involved in making our
water flow again!
On Monday, while we were waiting for George, we reconnected with Jeff and Debbie aboard SeaSparrow, who we had initially met at Marineland, later at Vero Beach and then again at North Palm Beach. The reason they were in North Palm, was to take their dog to a vet and get some medicine for what seemed like a lung infection that wouldn’t go away. It is a very long sad story, but on their way across they learned that their dog didn’t have a lung infection, she had advanced lung cancer, was in pain, and wouldn’t make it very long. So, they changed their trip plans and headed to Green Turtle Cay. There was nothing any vet could do so they had to put their dog down. The only good part about their story is that they met many good people in Marsh Harbor and in Greet Turtle that helped them along the way.

On Tuesday we got a call from the elusive George who said he would be there in 15 – 20 minutes. Believe it or not, he actually showed up and, Cameron’s failed efforts notwithstanding, promptly fixed our generator – or at least kind of fixed it. (More on this later.) As soon as George was off the boat, we cranked her up and headed to Treasure Cay so we could anchor, use the generator, and visit one of our favorite spots in the Bahamas. Or so we thought.

As we passed through Whale Passage, though, the boat suddenly started a slow vibration. I had felt this kind of vibration before – nearly two years ago when we had picked up a tarp in our propeller. When it happened before, we had to go to a marina and hire a diver who cut it off. This time, we continued on our way to Treasure Cay – albeit more slowly – and anchored once we got there. I then donned my mask and snorkel and went overboard. Sure enough, there was a huge tangle of rope around our starboard propeller. It took a while, but after several dives and several cuts I finally managed to get the rope off.

A turtle near the boat at Treasure Cay.
I took three pictures; this is the best
For the balance of Tuesday and all day Wednesday we lazed around Treasure Cay. On Thursday morning we headed out for Tahiti Beach. Although we had heard about Tahiti Beach, we had not yet been there. No sooner had we arrived and dropped our anchor (Ann is getting better and better at handling Bertha) than the wind picked up from about 5 MPH to a good 25 MPH. We decided that we really didn’t want to stay in this kind of wind and seas, so we decided to head out to Marsh Harbor and drop the anchor again. Although the winds kept up in the Harbor, the seas weren’t much at all.

Next time we’ll tell you about Hopetown and our preparations in Marsh Harbor for Trent, Maddy, Nik,  Dave  and Lisa.

ANN’S NOTES:   Well it has been an interesting several weeks. We have mostly enjoyed ourselves except for that BIG piece of equipment that is called a generator and seems to have a mind of its own. I am sure someone that lives on these island can fix this monster…heaven knows several have already tried.

We have met some wonderful new cruisers and that is so much fun for me. We linked up with Jeff and Debbie on SeaSparrow once before. We first met them in Marineland on the dock, then really got to know them in Vero Beach at Thanksgiving when they sat with Lori and Russ and us. They really are a wonderful couple, from Halifax Canada and so funny. We just all `clicked`. The story on their dog is so sad but also very sweet. Stella was a two-and-a-half year old pure bread golden retriever. She was sick, but was able to pass all the vet exams and get her papers to travel to the Bahamas. She was a real boat dog in that she loved chasing the fresh water from the hose on the deck of the boat. On the way over to the Bahamas, they got a call from the vet, who said that Stella had advanced lung cancer, very rare for a dog so young. They went to the closest island to figure out what to do. This is when the universe stepped up with all the kindness she could find.  Jeff and Debbie had not even cleared customs yet, they just wanted to get Stella to a vet for help. While Jeff was looking for a place to land the dinghy at the Government Dock in Green Turtle Cay, he overshot the dock and was turning around when he ran out of gas. A woman in a golf cart (that is mainly what is used for transportation on this island) was watching. He was trying to row his heavy center console dinghy against the wind and current. He made it to the dock and explained what was happening with Stella and what he needed to get to a vet ASAP. The lady and her husband took over from there.

He explained they had not cleared customs and they told him they would help them with all that. The couple picked up Debbie and Stella from SeaSparrow and took them to Marsh Harbor on their boat, helped them clear customs and waited for them while at the Vet office. It turns out this couple are very active in the animal rescue association on the islands. The vet in Marsh Harbor only confirmed the sad news and at the request of Jeff and Debbie put Stella to sleep. The couple suggested to Debbie and Jeff that they might want to bring Stella back to Green Turtle because Marsh Harbor really does not have a kind way to dispose of their animals. Stella was brought back to Green Turtle, the couple had a place to bury her and helped dig her grave and placed her in it. Nothing was asked of Jeff and Debbie, the kindness of these people and their love of animals was very clear. Jeff and Debbie gave them twenty pounds of food, flea and tick collars and all the medicines they had from the Vets. I just had to tell this sad and sweet story because sometimes we forget that people are kind and loving and do want to help strangers.  

While in Green Turtle Cay we also meet another couple, Kathy and Martin, on a sailboat Autumn Sun. They joined us for a drink while we were having dinner on the terrace at the Bluff House Marina. Another funny wonderful couple that I look forward to meeting again.` Down Island `as they say in the Bahamas.

Traveling Soul….OUT

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Vero and North Palm (20 Nov - 4 Dec)

This will probably be our last Blog Entry before we leave for the Bahamas. It covers our stay in Vero Beach (7 days on a mooring ball and three days in a slip), including our penultimate provisioning runs, and our stay in North Palm Beach while we waited for a weather window. After we get to the Bahamas it will probably take us at least three or four days to get to Marsh Harbor and find a decent wi-fi connection. I say at “at least,” because, if everything works out right, we may take an extra day or two and visit some of the northeastern islands that we haven’t yet visited (a couple of them are supposed to have good local restaurants). I am telling you all this so if we appear to have disappeared from the face of the earth, you will know that we are alive and well living on rum and lobster on some remote Bahamian cay.

Vero Beach

Some of you may remember that Vero Beach has a very nice mooring field. It is nice because it is well protected from the wind, has good, strong mooring tackle and costs only $13.87 per day!!! When we arrived the wind was blowing pretty hard so we tried some of our new mooring techniques. We did okay, but we need to take our new techniques back to the drawing board. We intended to stay on the ball for ten days, so we drank a toast, and as we clinked our glasses we swore not to use too much water, electricity or anything else for which we might need a marina. It didn’t quite work out the way we planned – but more about that later.

On 22 November we rented a car and headed to Patrick Air Force Base so we could visit the commissary and Base Exchange. I think Patrick is the only military base of any size in central Florida and we weren’t the only retirees who decided to visit the Commissary on the Friday before Thanksgiving. I have never seen one so crowded. Anyway, we filed up our grocery carts – to the tune of about half-of-a-Boat Unit, loaded our rental car and headed home. We got staples that every cook like Ann needs in her galley and every eater like Mike needs to have in his chef’s galley!), as well as various items that are very expensive or difficult to find in the Bahamas. We weren’t finished, however. Before we got to the boat we hit West Marine pretty hard, too. We spent a little bit less than there, but not much. The good thing was this was going to last us for the next several weeks.

I know those of you in Virginia have had some bad weather while we were down here and folks in other parts of the country have had it even worse. I just want you to know that we’ve had bad weather, too. It must have rained for five of the ten days we were in Vero. Ok, so maybe it wasn’t snow and maybe it was 65-75 degrees most of the time, but we didn’t have it perfect. In fact … I know you are going to feel sorry for us once I tell you this … on Thanksgiving Day I actually had to turn on the heater AND get my long pants out of the closet!!! Yes, for about two hours on Thursday morning it was under 50 degrees Brrr! Ok, so maybe it warmed up later in the day – to the point where we were very comfortable eating our Thanksgiving dinner outside – but for one brief un-shiny moment it was cold in Vero Beach Florida!

Maintenance on the Mooring Ball

On about day 3 we decided to try all the air conditioners to make sure they still worked. One of them, of course, did not; it would have been too much to hope for all of them to work. So, we found a repairman, called him and told him we suspected it was the R-22 refrigerant. He came, looked, fixed a leak, put in the refrigerant and everything seemed to work. (I know, I know, I should have kept you in suspense as to whether it really worked or not … and here, by saying “it appeared” to work I have given away the conclusion. But I have more …)

On about day 5 we decided to go ahead and “unpickle” our watermaker and make a little bit of water. Watermaker membranes are fairly sensitive in that you have to keep them moist all the time. You can make water with them every few days, but if you don’t need water that is kind of a waste, or you can run fresh water through them – but that’s squandering fresh water. The alternative is to put a pickling solution in the system. This solution keeps the membrane moist and kills any germs that might want to grow. We pickled ours last spring. Anyway, when we unpickled it we found out that our watermaker was on the fritz. I got hold of the same repairman who had helped with our air conditioner and he came over and helped me re-prime our watermaker.

I know you are all thinking, “Wow, it sure was a good thing you got all that stuff fixed before you went to the Bahamas!” Not so fast, folks. The next day I tried to start the watermaker again. It didn’t work. Since our efforts to start it had used quite a bit of our fresh water supply to prime the pump, and since it was very loud with the generator running and almost impossible to hear when the watermaker pump clicked on, we decided to get a slip before trying to re-prime the pump again. We got into the slip (about which, more below) and sure enough, the pump wouldn’t turn on, even when it had been primed. Moreover, you remember that air conditioner? It didn’t work either. It seems the repairman we called had a magic touch … as long as he was on the boat. As soon as he left … wham! Things were back to not-working. AARGH! It is enough to make a man angry!

Pulling into the slip was not as easy as it should have been. There were three things that caused a problem. First, it was still very windy – and as I have explained before we have quite a bit of surface area on the boat which, in the face of a lot of wind, wants to turn the boat in directions other than those which I want it to turn. Second, when there is a strong current in the same direction as the wind, this can make the problem twice as difficult. And finally, when the fairway is only 60’ wide a 52’ boat does not have much room to be moved around by wind and current before she hits something. Well, after starting in to the slip twice and feeling the current take me both times, I decided the only way in was to apply a little more power. And power did the trick – almost. In the event, our bowsprit kissed the piling and rubbed the paint and gelcoat off. (The gelcoat is the plastic-like substance that covers the fiberglass and on which the paint is applied.) I now have to fix that as well. <Deep Wistful Sigh>

Oh! And one more thing. I finally yielded to myself (I have been having a discussion with myself for nearly a year) and bought a new anchor. It is the same kind of anchor (called a Bruce or Claw), but it is 110 pounds as opposed to the old one at 66 pounds. Assuming it works as it should, I will sleep better at night. We are going to take the old anchor with us and probably sell it when we get back to the Chesapeake next summer.

Oh and one more thing (on a boat, there is always one more thing). At Vero Beach, a few days before Thanksgiving I lost a crown from one of my teeth. We have found a dentist in North Palm and I have an appointment to get it fixed first thing on  Monday morning.

So, for those of you who were keeping track, we have five tasks to accomplish when we get to Palm Beach

·         Have the air conditioner fixed

·         Have the watermaker fixed

·         Fix the gelcoat on the bowsprit

·         Have the head fixed (I know I haven’t mentioned that, but seawater is not flowing into the toilet bowl the way it should.)

·         Replace the anchor

·         Get crown fixed.

One of the reasons we went to Vero Beach in the first place was to celebrate Thanksgiving with other cruisers. We had heard that the Power Squadron at Vero bought and cooked a bunch of turkey and ham and invited cruisers to bring a side dish and join the festivities. I am guessing we had Thanksgiving with 150, or so, of our soon-to-become best friends. For our side dish I convinced Ann to make macaroni and cheese. We enjoyed the meal and the opportunity to meet other folks. We ate with Russ and Lori from Ortolan. We had met and had them over for drinks when we were all at the Marineland Marina. We also had dinner with Jeff and Debbie on SeaSparrow. We had met them, too, at Marineland while they were waiting for the paperwork from Nassau so they could take their dog with them to the Bahamas.

North Palm Beach

I was going to write more, but it looks like we will be on our way tomorrow. We have accomplished almost everything we wanted to get done and there aren’t any good reasons for staying here and spending money. Moreover, the weather forecast – which initially showed Saturday as a much better day for crossing – has changed. Now, any day between tomorrow and Sunday are forecast to be just about the same (the difference between 2-3 foot seas and 2-4 foot seas). After three days here at North Palm, here is the status of our “to do” list:

ü  Have the air conditioner fixed. It turns out that our previous repairman forgot to tighten one of the fittings on the line, which let the R-22 out.

ü  Have the watermaker fixed. There seem to have been a several things that were not working as they should have been. The high pressure gauge and switch have been replaced and the “start capacitor” (whatever that is) has now been replaced. Also, I have learned that we can add another membrane and double the output of out watermaker! (Maybe a project for next year.)

ü  Have the head fixed. Apparently a bunch of “sea stuff" (barnacles, etc.) made their way into the hoses leading to the toilet. We have cleaned that out and have added a strainer so it doesn’t happen again.

ü  Replace the anchor. The anchor is just a little too big for the slot into which it is supposed to fit. We are going to have to make a few changes in our anchoring process.

ü  Get crown re-glued. Done. Apparently, I have a small cavity next to the crown that can violate the integrity of the attachment. I’ll have to get it fixed better in the future, but it will work for now.

·         Fix the gelcoat on the bowsprit. I will work on the bowsprit later today, but I can also work on it when we get to Marsh Harbor.

Ann’s Notes: My part of this blog is going to be short…it is 8:45 PM and Michael wants to get this out before going to bed…AND…it has been a very busy day for the both of us. So many details to get done and so little time. I spend most of the day helping the local pharmacist at the CVS through the maze of Tricare refills. I brought the refills in the morning when it was light out and biking was not the problem. I picked up said refills at 7:30 PM and it was very dark while riding the bike. The good news is we have our refills and should be good for a few extra months.

Our Thanksgiving at Vero Beach was a lot of fun, our table did lots of laughing and we made some more friends. A few were just voices over the radio and now we have a face to put with the voice.

I have to tell you that Michael more than `kisses` piling, he really is such a great captain so when things go wrong, I really don`t know what to do. I do, however know that my boat pole or hands will not stop our boat from `Kissing` a piling so I just have to let it happen.

The one thing that Michael did not mention on the day that several items stopped working all at once was…our fresh water hoses sprung a leak. After several rolls of `rescue tape` that failed to work, we finally cut the leaking part of the hose and spliced a new section of hose. We are actually getting pretty good at this since we have done it more than once.

I had a few important items on my list for our Palm Beach stay…really girlie ones. I got my hair cut…short and had a pedicure. I feel like a girl again.

Just one more thing before the wildlife count and quotes…

The new anchor is HEAVY !!!    I will tell you more about that in the next blog.

Wildlife Count

Thursday 19 Nov 2013

·         2 Dolphins playing for about five minuets…jumping and showing off

·         Set of 2 dolphins  2x

·         6 single

·         Mom and baby playing on the side of the boat

·         Pod of 6

·         2 Big boy playing at the bow

Sunday 24 Nov 2013

·         Dolphins in the mooring field

·         Pelicans  diving and catching fish

Friday 23 Nov 2013

·         3 Dolphins playing at the bow

·         1 Single

·         3 Playing on the side of the boat

·         Set of 2 dolphins x 2

Quotes from the Water Way

(in this case the shower next door, a little boy, Franklin, with his mom)

In a little boy voice…no real tune, just a sing-song tone…

`I live on a boat…mom said I smell like a goat…

Need to take a shower…

Hope I get a snack…

Want to go swimming…Where`s Dad?


There were several more verses and they all made me smile


Traveling Soul….OUT



Monday, November 25, 2013

St. Augustine to Titusville (11 November - 19 November)

 5-4-3-2-1 Lift Off!

Sounds like a space shot, doesn’t it. Well, it was!!! Ann and I saw the launch of the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN probe (MAVEN). And I’ll tell you, it was exciting. You should have seen those little green men … oops, they told us not to talk about them. Besides, I am supposed to write in chronological order, so you are just going to have to wait until we tell you about the launch.

Fort Matanzas

After St. Augustine we headed down the river a few miles to Fort Matanzas. “Matanzas,” of course, is the Spanish name for “massacres” or “slaughters”. It seems that, in September 1565, the Frenchman Jean Ribault, with a group of fellow Huguenots, sailed from the French base at Fort Caroline to destroy the newly-established Spanish colony at St. Augustine. But what happens in September in Florida? Hurricanes. Just such a storm carried the French south of St. Augustine to a point between present-day Daytona Beach and Cape Canaveral where they were shipwrecked. As they marched north to get back to Fort Caroline, they were intercepted by a force of seventy or so Spanish. Although the details vary from storyteller to storyteller, of the 127 men captured, 111 were killed for allegedly for refusing to renounce their faith and accept Catholicism. If that wasn’t enough, two weeks later another 134 were killed near the same place. The location of this massacre? You guessed it. It was a place that became known as Matanzas Inlet. One-hundred eighty-five years later a fort was built by the Spanish near the site of the massacre at Matanzas Inlet to guard the backdoor to Augustine – and that is how Fort Matanzas got its name.

Fort Matanzas
Just as was the case in 1565, there is, today, an inlet that leads from the ocean to the Matanzas River and subsequently to Saint Augustine. Just in front of the fort, the river is 10-15 feet deep – plenty of water to anchor. So, we waited until just before high tide to sneak into the inlet, then dropped the hook. Although there is quite a bit of current through the Inlet, our anchor grabbed the bottom and held us for the two nights we stayed. We also went ashore to see the National Monument itself. (Do you remember that I told you that Ann likes to get stamps in her new National Park and Monument Passport? Well, she sure wasn’t going to miss this opportunity.) Although the fort is kind of small, the rangers were very knowledgeable – and that is what made the tour interesting.


Our next stop was only four miles south of the Fort; it was Marineland Marina. On the day we arrived at Marineland, they were having a Farmer’s Market at the marina. It was a lot of fun and allowed us to get some fresh fruit and vegetables (so we don’t get scurvy, you know … ARGH!), some bread, some of this and some of that.

We had stopped at Marineland during our trip north and had really enjoyed it, even though we didn’t have time to see the aquarium itself. Actually, when it was built in the 1930s, it wasn’t supposed to be a simple aquarium; it was, as you might recall from last spring’s Blog entry, the world’s first “oceanarium,” in that it was intended to be the ocean in microcosm. That was important because, in addition to being a kind of an ocean-theme park, it was intended to be THE location for movies with an underwater setting. And it was – at least for two memorable films – Creature from the Black Lagoon and Return of the Creature. It was also the setting for Sea Hunt, which starred Lloyd Bridges. For those of you who have not reached “that certain age” where you know what Sea Hunt was, Lloyd is the father of Beau and Jeff Bridges.

This time we not only went to the beach (though we stayed only a few minutes because the wind was blowing so hard we were getting sandblasted) and the gift shop, we actually took the tour of the ocreanarium and got to see the dolphins up close. They have 12 dolphins, at various stages of maturity, but Nellie, at 60 years old, is their oldest – and the oldest in captivity.

Octopus in the Ocaenarium at Marineland
Although we had planned on staying a couple of days at Marineland, the fact that there was supposed to be a blow coming from the north/northeast made us glad we had picked this particular time. When we arrived on the 12th, the weather was nice and pleasant. Shortly after midnight, however, the wind picked up – and boy did it pick up. All night long and for part of the next day the wind was steady at 30-35 MPH and gusting to 40+. We had secured the boat to the dock very well, and had placed several fenders out, so, for us, the wind was almost a non-event, but it sure was blowing.

My sister has long been after me to “develop” some of the characters we meet on the Waterway. (I should point out my sister was an actress, so she does use phrases like “develop characters”). I have always been a bit hesitant because many of these “characters” are you – friends we meet during our travels – and I don‘t want to say anything that might be taken the wrong way. That said, at Marineland I met a character. I had taken a short walk to check out the shores of the waterway and to stretch my legs. On the way back, I saw a guy debark from his boat to take his trash to the dumpster. I slowed so I could at least introduce myself. I told him my name was which boat was ours. For their next 20 minutes, I couldn’t say anything else; Lance Long was in the transmit mode. I believe he took a couple of breaths during his monologue, but I would not swear to it.

I learned that Lance had a Ph.D. from the University of Florida in 19th Century Literature, that the title of his dissertation was something like Sea Captains in Nineteenth Century Literature (Even my best friends who know I have a Ph.D. don’t know anything about my dissertation). But apparently Lance – his name is Lance Long – thought his newest best friend (me) would certainly be interested. I also learned that Lance taught Literature at the Merchant Marine Academy, where, he said, he was a navy lieutenant commander and at Maine Maritime Academy. (This is the first place I realized Lance might have a tendency to exaggerate. He might have been the equivalent of a navy Lt Cmdr, but I doubt that he was one. Moreover, I am not sure why the navy, vice the merchant marine, would have given him any rank). Oh, but I learned more.

Lance left academia and came to Florida where he started a handyman business which evolved into a construction/real estate development business. I learned that he bought 65 acres on the ocean near Marineland which he later sold to a developer who built 360 condos on the land. One might have thought Lance would have made a bunch of money from this transaction, but apparently not. I learned that after the ’89 real estate crash (I didn’t even know there was a crash in ’89). Lance wrote a book on success, that turned into an infomercial, and that turned into a presentation series, of which he gave 3000. (Hmmm. If he would have netted just $1000 for each of his presentations he would have a nice bundle of $3 million. Do you suppose Lance was exaggerating here, too?) Oh, but I learned even more. He is currently in the process of getting rid of the several properties that he owns so he can become a full-time cruiser. He had just sold two of his properties in St. Augustine that very day (for which he received a cash settlement) and that he had three or four more.  He recounted where these properties were and the likelihood that they would be sold in the near future, but by this time I was suffering from “listener’s remorse” and I was kicking myself for getting roped into listening to this guy. I could tell you more. I could tell you his son’s height and weight (6’4” 230 pounds), that his son was a football star in high school, that 50 schools wanted him, that he chose Florida – then decided not to play football. I could tell you that Lance has written and e-published two books that he sells hundreds of them per month. Oh! He is 69 years old and he has been married for 43 years. He is now a “prepper” meaning that he is preparing for doomsday or something, that he is going to survive doomsday on his boat (a very nice 49’ North Pacific – but it ain’t the boat of a multimillionaire), etc. etc.

AND those are the things that I remember!!! AND I learned all that in 20 minutes, tops. I tried, on two different occasions to get Lance to ask me a question so I could enter into the conversation. One time, when we were talking about his son’s football career, I pointed out that neither my alma mater, nor my graduate school alma mater was doing well in football. I thought he might ask me where I had gone to school. Nope. He wasn’t interested.

Need I develop this character anymore? Lance Long. What a talker.


After Marineland and Lance, we went to Titusville, which for those of you who aren’t aware, is very close to Cape Canaveral. We stayed on a mooring ball for two days and then went into the marina for two days. I am going to tell you about the Mars shot in a minute, but first I need to tell you about  Bill and Regina. We first met Bill and Regina aboard their boat Meant2B in Nassau last year. Bill was the former Navy submarine guy who helped me put in my new inverter, and Ann and Regina just hit it off. Bill and Regina now live on their boat in the Titusville Marina.

Well, I gotta tell ya that they went well beyond the call of duty helping us. Titusville seems to be a nice place, but doesn’t have many stores in the neighborhood. So, when Bill and Regina offered to take us somewhere, Ann needed to go to Bed, Bath and Beyond and I needed to go to West Marine. That was not a problem for Bill and Regina, they first took us 40 miles in one direction to Bed, Bath and Beyond and then 40 miles in the other direction to West Marine. The next day they had us over for steak and shrimp on their boat and the following day they took us to the beach so we could see the MAVEN launch. Regina is having a few medical issues right now, so I am sure you will join us in wishing her a speedy recovery so we can repay their kindness in the Exumas!!!!

As I said, Bill and Regina took us to the National Seashore where we could get a good look at the Mars bound spacecraft as it took off. The mission is to determine how the Martian atmosphere transformed the world into the desolate wasteland it is today. The robotic spacecraft, called the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution probe (MAVEN), launched atop an Atlas 5 rocket from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 1:28 p.m. EST, and began a 10-month journey to Mars. And we were there.

It is that little bright spot. If you look closely you can also see the plume
A few impressions:

·         It was a magnificent sight. But at the end of the day, it was a small spacecraft, taking off from a small planet to travel through interplanetary space to a planet nearly 440 million miles away. Amazing.

·         Although we could see the entire missile for a few seconds, soon all we could see was the plume. But, my god, the sound that followed the launch was indescribable. While the launch took place 5 miles away, when the sound waves got there, you couldn’t hear the voice of the person next to you.

·         It was good to see that, even on a Monday afternoon where you had to travel several miles by car and then, maybe a mile on foot, there were still quite a few people who wanted to see the launch. Apparently the people care and understand the importance of the space program more than the politicos do.

Ann`s Notes: We have had a very nice time cruising down the ICW. The weather has been good and when it does turn yucky we seem to be in the right marina at the right time. We have met some really nice cruisers and exchanged places to visit in the Bahamas and Exumas and good places to anchor on the way. I did miss the Lance Long conversation even if it did take place outside my galley window. I was preparing dinner so I had better things to do than witness the conversation. I did get to read the brochure he gave everyone on the dock so we all could order his yet-to-be-famous E-book. The brochure went out with the morning trash.

The “behind the scenes” tour of Marineland was interesting. I learned a lot about the dolphin’s habits and social groups. It seems like the moms and babies make up the larger pods I see. The ones that swim in groups of two or three are generally an older male and one or two teenagers. The dolphins in the wild live about twenty-five years. They only breed twice a year and the females are pregnant for a year before giving birth. Also each male dolphin takes the whistle of his mother and then adds his own unique sound at the end. That is the dolphin’s way of protecting the gene pool. They are such beautiful animals and I just love watching them. They make my heart happy whenever they come and play with our wake.

Fort Mantanzas was really just a well built redoubt, very small but in a good location. The park rangers knew their history and made the fort come alive. I am just glad I did not live back then, just a lot of work to stay alive. I did get my Park Stamp so I am a happy boater.

Titusville is an interesting place, very close to Orlando but one would never know it. Everything is spread out like Michael said, the sort of place that you have to have a car, or good friends to get anything done. Regina and Bill went way above and beyond to make us feel welcome. We enjoyed their company very much and look forward to spending more time with them in the future.

The space launch was exciting. I remember as a little girl watching all the Apollo launches with my dad. He was a space nut, I think the splash downs were my favorite, just knowing those brave men made it back to earth safe and sound. I did feel very proud seeing that rocket in the air, I also know what 671 million dollars looks like when it goes up in a cloud of vapors.

Wildlife Count

Sunday 10 Nov 2013

·         3 Dolphins in the mooring field

Monday 11 Nov 2013

·         3 sets of 2 dolphins….probably male

·         2 Single Dolphins

Tuesday 12 Nov 2013

·         1 set of 2 Dolphins

·         2 Single dolphins

·         1 Jumping Dolphin

·         LOTS of Cannon Ball Jellyfish…look them up…they look like floating mushroom caps…big mushrooms

Friday 15 Nov 2013

·         5 white tail deer under some trees

·         2 very playful dolphins, jumping ,swimming upside down in the side wake of the boat

·         6 sets of 2 dolphins

·         10 Single dolphins

·         A pod of 5 dolphins rounding up fish toward the shore into shallow water for lunch is my guess

·         Pod of 7 jumping and just having fun

·         Pod of 3

Sunday 17 and Monday 18

·         Manatees, lots of them in the marina, hanging out to get a drink of fresh water from people washing their boats. These animals are huge, some 6 feet long and I could not even guess their weight. Pretty cute in an ugly sort of way. Don`t know what the universe was thinking when it came up for the design of this animal but I am certain it does have a place in the grand scheme of things.

Thanks for reading…

Traveling Soul…OUT

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Beaufort to Saint Augustine

Ok, you are going to find the section on Beaufort a little different than our usual entry. We were asked to send in some material for the Waterway Guide so, rather than writing two sections that say the same thing, I am using the Waterway Guide writing style for the Blog. Don’t worry, we are back my regular old fashioned style in the section that follows.


Along the Intracoastal there are a number of places where every cruiser will want to stop at least once, and more than likely a dozen or more times. Beaufort, SC is one of those places. Why does Beaufort command such dedication among cruisers? There are several reasons, the first of which has to be its location. Sited on a wide sweeping curve in the beautiful Beaufort River, Beaufort is 67 ICW miles from Charleston and has a number of excellent anchorages – and a public dinghy dock – in the area.

A second reason for Beaufort’s popularity has to be its city plan. The Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park is right on the water. There, locals, tourists and cruisers alike enjoy the outdoors. Kids of all ages enjoy throwing a Frisbee, playing ball, fishing from the dock or just relaxing while watching the sunset in one of the porch swings on the water’s edge. Pets, too, find the opportunity to stretch their legs refreshing.

Bordering the park, on Bay Street, is one of the other reasons so many cruisers visit the city – the restaurants. Several have a veranda or porch that overlooks the park and the waterfront for alfresco dining. Moreover, several of these restaurants have some of the best food along the waterway. Whether you are interested in an afternoon snack of fries and beer or more substantial (and healthful) fare for lunch or dinner it is available. Seafood, of course, is always on the menu. But neither can you miss with good old fashioned down home low country cooking. Or combine both with shrimp and grits. Mmmm you can get hungry just thinking about it. And in case the food isn’t enough to attract you, on most weekends there is live music available.

Also bordering the park is a number of different kinds of shops and stores. There are several gift shops for tourists (or cruisers) to buy a memento of their visit to Beaufort, of course, but there are also a number of art galleries. In fact, Beaufort is well known for its art scene, having been named a "Top 25 Small City Arts Destination" by American Style Magazine. There are also antique stores, book stores and clothing boutiques along the way. Okay, so maybe most cruisers aren’t in the market for antique furniture. Still, it is fun, educational and – depending on your age – somewhat nostalgic to see possessions that have survived until today.

After eating at the restaurants and shopping to your heart’s content at the stores and shops, what else would you want to do but explore the history of Beaufort, and, as you might imagine, the second oldest city in South Carolina has quite a bit of history. The area has hosted French, Spanish and English explorers as far back as 1514 in what some believe was the second landing on the North American continent by Europeans (after Ponce de Leon a year earlier). You can explore the city and its environs by water on a tour boat, a kayak or even by a beautiful vintage yacht. If you want to stay on land, there are guided tours you can take on foot, by van and even by horse and buggy.  And if you get there at the right time, many of the town’s historic houses also offer tours.

Beaufort can get a little bit foggy. Not good when you are preparing to leave.
For the more practical-minded, Beaufort is the home of Beaufort Memorial, which is the largest hospital between Savannah, GA and Charleston, SC and capable of handling any of your medical needs. In addition, there are five grocery stores in town, though you will need a car to get to any of them. Not to worry, though, many of the local marinas offer a courtesy car for short shopping runs.  The Downtown Marina of Beaufort, for example, is located right next to the park and offers convenient access to the park itself and to a number of restaurants, shops and the historic district. And if you are just passing through and don’t have the time to spend exploring the town, there are marinas on both ends of town that offer dockage at $1 per foot.

In short, every cruiser has his or her own set of reasons for making Beaufort a must-stop on the way along the Waterway. Whether it is for the location, the food, or the shopping, you will find Beaufort a wonderful stop.

Herb River

The next night we stayed at an anchorage on the Herb River. There are a few homes along the Herb and not much more. We didn’t consider it a destination anchorage, just an overnight. Anyway, we stayed primarily because some friends of ours, Vic and GiGi aboard Salty Turtle were going there. We didn’t intend to spend time with them, but I always like it when someone we know has tried out a particular anchorage – especially when it is expected to be very windy. When we arrived, Salty Turtle was already there, so we decided to go around the bend to a more protected site. That site was already occupied by two catamarans so we headed back and anchored about 200 yards behind the Turtle (I know it was 200 yards because I have a laser range finder for just such a purpose). Anyway, the current in the Herb River was substantial and the wind was blowing at 25 gusting to 30 MPH. Nevertheless, the anchor held and all was good with the world.

Fort Frederica

Our next stop was the Frederica River. About 2-3 miles off the ICW, the Frederica River has an anchorage and a dinghy dock for those of us who want to visit Fort Frederica by water. The nights we were there, the current was ripping through the anchorage, moving at 3 knots at least. The current, of course, changed directions every few hours (it is a tidal current). The wind was also blowing. These two factors had the rather unusual effect of pulling very hard on the anchor when the wind and current were both in the same direction and putting almost no pressure on the anchor when they were in opposite directions. As you might expect, I checked on the ground tackle several times during the night.

Fort Federica itself is one of those national monuments of which very few people have ever heard. According to the National Park Service, Georgia's fate was decided in 1742 when Spanish and British forces clashed on St. Simons Island. Fort Frederica's troops defeated the Spanish, ensuring Georgia's future as a British colony. Today, the archeological remnants of Frederica are protected as a National Monument. As I am sure everyone knows, the Battle of Bloody Marsh, near Ft. Frederica, took place during the “War of Jenkins’ Ear,” which, as far as I know, is the only war named after a body part. In case you were wondering, according to Wikipedia, “Its unusual name … refers to an ear severed from Robert Jenkins, captain of a British merchant ship. The severed ear was subsequently exhibited before Parliament.  The tale of the ear's separation from Jenkins, following the boarding of his vessel by Spanish coast guards in 1731, provided the impetus to war against the Spanish Empire …”

Apparently at Fort Frederica, they were planning
on catching some SERIOUS fish!
The site itself consists of the remnants of the fort and the remains foundations of several houses that were laid out in a town near the fort. The foundations were very interesting as they showed the size and number of rooms most of the houses had. On the first floor, few of the houses we saw had more than two rooms, presumably a bedroom and a parlor. And they were small. I think most of the houses were about the size of one good sized room in modern homes.

I need to point out one other thing. It was cold. It was so cold that to go ashore and see the monument, I actually broke down and wore jeans. Yes, jeans! And Socks. And a sweat shirt. I am telling you, it was cold.

Fernandina Beach

We stayed two nights in Frederica, then we were off to Fernandina Beach, our first stop in Florida. We stayed at anchor in the Bell River about ½ of a mile away from the city proper. When we arrived, it was still chilly. But by the next afternoon, it was downright warm! Hurray!!

Outside of Fernandina, on the Georgia side of the border,
there is a  sub base. And look what you can see from the ICW.
We had been to Fernandina before and, in fact, had seen the city’s famous (?) Shrimp Festival – where it seems everyone in town dresses like a shrimp. We wanted to see a little more of what the town had to offer so we decided to stroll around that morning. To be fair, Amelia Island (the island on which Fernandina is located) has a lot more to see that we saw in one morning. For example, there is an “Old Town Fernandina” about a mile north of the current city of Fernandina Beach that we did not see at all. It seems that in 1853 the whole town of Fernandina moved about a mile further south when Senator David Levy Yulee chartered his Florida Railroad line, the first cross-state railroad in Florida. Fernandina was to be the eastern terminus, but Yulee declared the rails could not cross the salt-marsh to Old Town; in fact, the land area of Old Town was insufficient to support Yulee's vision of 'Manhattan of the South,’ so he convinced the town fathers literally to move the town a mile to the south – to land that he had already bought.

We also went to the local museum where we received a guided tour from a docent. I gotta tell you that I am beginning to think that many of the docents for small town museums are more interested in spreading their particular view of history (and sometimes politics) than they are the view that might be acceptable to serious historians. At any rate, it was interesting to learn more about the interaction among the French, Spanish, English, Seminole Indiana and Americans in southern Georgia and northern Florida.

After the museum, our friends Lee Ann and Jerry came down from Brunswick Georgia, where they keep their boat Bella. You may remember that Jerry as a former orthopedic surgeon was my unpaid consultant when during my recent unpleasantness. Lee Ann used to be a hospice nurse so she and Ann also hit it off. Anyway, we had a great lunch at a kind of seafood shack after which they took us (by car!) to the grocery store. Thanks guys, we really appreciate it!

St. Augustine

After Fernandina we headed to St. Augustine, which is a day’s cruise to the south. It is also one of my favorite cities in Florida – and maybe along the entire Waterway. There is always a lot to do. Yes, Ann got her National Park passport stamped at the Castillo de San Marcos – an almost intact Spanish fort from the seventeenth century. (I reported on it last time we were through and am not going to do it here.) We also went through the Old Town. In Saint Augustine, Old Town is a touristy shopping district where almost all of the shops are housed in centuries-old buildings that had been individual homes in days long past. They have all sorts of oddities available – including alligator jerky – and we like going there.

This weekend, it turns out, they were having a “Pirate Gathering” in Saint Augustine. We had to go because … well … we just had to. There were a bunch of people dressed as pirates, several tents set up to sell pirate-like things (some less pirate-like than others) and a band that played Irish (and a few old English) folk songs while dressed as pirates. Oh well. It seemed like everyone was having a good time.

While in Saint Augustine, we again saw our friends Gigi and Vic aboard Salty Turtle. It seems we are a-l-m-o-s-t on the same schedule, but we haven’t been able to hook up and spend some quality time with them. We are both going to the Bahamas so even if we don’t link up before that, we’ll definitely see them in the Bahamas!

We also linked up with Sharon and Andy from Finally Fun. They are ground-dwellers now and live on the west coast of Florida around Tampa, but they were visiting Sharon’s mom, Fran, in Jacksonville. So, the three of them traveled down to Saint Augustine for dinner. This is the first time in a long time that Ann and I have eaten dinner out. We usually have a “lupper” (explained in a previous blog entry), or have lunch and are not hungry enough for dinner. This time though we did it right. We met Sharon, Andy and Fran at Gini’s Martini Bar, then went to Harry’s Restaurant for dinner. The food was great, the drinks were excellent, but the company was what made the evening.

And that brings us to today. Later this morning we are on our way to Fort Matanzas, another National Monument so Ann can get her passport stamped – and, oh yeah, so we can learn something about the Spanish massacre of 200 French Huguenots in the sixteenth century. The, for the first time in nine days we will be at a marina. I will write more about that after we get there.


Ann’s Notes: Michael sure knows how to sum up our travels. I am very proud of Traveling Soul and her ability to stay away from a marina for nine days. We did have to stop at the dock in St. Augustine to fill up our water tanks. We only hold 200 gallons. That may seem like a lot of water, but it is  not for a boat this big with all the normal uses of water. I have become a water-Nazi. Yes … we still take showers and I do the dishes, but with a very close eye on the water tanks. Once we get to some cleaner water, we will turn on the water maker. It only makes 7 gallons per hour and only when the generator is on, but hey, 7 gallons is better than no gallons…right?

Michael has been a really good sport, dealing with my National Parks Passport stamp/sticker mission.

Our National Parks are a real treasure, I never realized how much land has been put aside and preserved for us to go exploring.

I have had a chance to practice and hone my anchoring skills and my dinghy lowering and raising skills. We have actually found a much better and safer way to get the dinghy up and down, just by moving the wench over a few more feet over the swim platform. Took us a while … but we got together.

All the above mentioned places we visited were fun. There is so much to see and do that you can`t do it all in just a few hours of visiting … guess we will just have to go back a few more times.

I want to thank our friends Lee Ann and Jerry for coming down from Brunswick to spend the afternoon with us and take us to the grocery store. They are true cruising friends.

Also Sharon and Andy and Sharon`s delightful mom Fran for joining us for drinks and dinner in St. Augustine. We always have such a fun time with Sharon and Andy.

I truly love this adventure and all the people that we have met … Life Is Good …

Wildlife  Count…

Sunday 3 Nov 2013

·         Dolphins 7 single

Monday 4 Nov 2013

·         Noisy shrimp eating stuff that grows on the bottom of our boat..at night very noisy

·         Playing dolphin 1 at our bow

·         1 set of 2 dolphins

·         1 single dolphin

·         Many, many sea gulls following our wake from the stern, flying very close to the boat all day

Tuesday 5 Nov 2013

·         One white egret sitting on a stump for two plus hours just waiting for the tide to change so he/she could catch some dinner

Wednesday 6 Nov 2013

·         2 single Dolphins

·         1 set of 2 Dolphins

Friday 8 Nov 2013

·         Dolphins 5 sets of 2

·         Dolphins 4 single

Quotes From The Waterway

·         Let me set this up for you…almost all boats…sailing or motor boats have their names on the stern of the boat so people know where your home port is. Most of the time the printing is large enough to read with a pair of binoculars. We always try to hail a boat when we want to pass them on the ICW so they and we can slow down and not have a lot a wake to bounce around in. So up ahead of us we hear on the radio, one boat wanting to announce and ask permission to pass … “Sailing vessel without a name on your stern”… not sure “no-name” even had his radio on.

Thank you for reading…

Traveling Soul…OUT