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.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

South from Brunswick (11 Jan - 29 Jan, 2015)

With apologies to Martin Luther King:

Warm at last
Warm at Last
Thank God Almighty
I’m warm at last

 The story of our trip south from Brunswick, GA is not a story of warmth. But it is a story of the weather; cold, foggy, rainy weather. It wasn’t until 17 January, during our second day at Cocoa, Florida that it became warm enough to take off my sweatshirt and actually go barefoot. It was even later than that before we could enjoy the warmth.

Ok, I can hear some of you now. “Cold … you don’t know cold. Why in (Virginia, Maryland, Ohio, Wisconsin, New York – pick one) it was so cold icicles formed on a man’s moustache. It was so cold that …

… Miley Cyrus covered her midriff and put clothes on…
...  hitchhikers were holding up pictures of thumbs!
…roosters were rushing into Kentucky Fried Chicken and begging to use the pressure cooker!  
the optician was giving away free ice scrapers with every new pair of eyeglasses!
you chipped a tooth on your soup!

… Playboy magazine stopped publishing because no women would take their clothes off.

… you had to carry around hammers and chisels so we could get out of our pajamas.

when you milked the cows, you got ice cream! When you milked the brown cows – you got chocolate ice cream!
… the snowman begged you to take him inside at night

Now that you have that out of your system, I will admit that my delicate constitution has, over the years, become used to warm weather (a fact of which I am very proud). In fact, you will notice that there are very few pictures of either Ann or me in this blog. Some people refuse to be photographed in the nude. I refuse to be photographed wearing long pants or socks! In fact, most of this month was consumed in looking for the elusive 70 degree isotherm. Let me explain how it went.

As most of you know, Ann and I left our boat in Brunswick, GA and went back to Northern VA for the holidays. We had a great time with our family and friends. It was, however, cold.
As soon as we arrived back in Brunswick, I realized I had made a strategic mistake. I either did not know, or had forgotten, that southern Georgia got that cold. I don’t remember what the temperature was the day we arrived, but it was way too cold. But it would be okay, I assured myself, we would only be in Georgia for a few more days before we would be on our way south. We were going to Florida – that magic land of warm weather and bikinis; that land where even those of us with the most delicate of constitutions can find warmth. Surely the weather would improve as soon as we crossed the state line.

It didn’t.
A Kamikaze Pelican!!

At first the weather was clear, crisp and cold. We pulled out of our slip in Brunswick without a problem. It wasn’t only cold for us it was cold for the birds. Near Jekyll Island, GA we had one of our first close encounters with attack birds. There were a couple of pelicans who, for some reason, decided to do kamikaze runs on the boat. They would fly fast and low until they were about three feet away from our hull, then they would veer off in one direction or another. Eventually, until one of them decided he would rather join us than fight us, so he landed on the bow of the boat near the pilothouse and let us give him a ride to the other side of the island. He was no more than five feet from us for the whole ride, though he was in front of the glass and we were behind it.

Our plan had been to cross the Florida-Georgia line and spend the night at an anchorage we had used several times before, just outside Fernandina, Florida. We arrived in the middle of the day and decided that it was way too early (and too cold) to stop, and that we should go a little further to an anchorage on the South Amelia River just north of Jacksonville.  Now, one of the great things about anchoring is that I can cook on the grill – and I love cooking outside. In fact, one of the problems with staying at marinas is that they generally do not allow you use an open fire on your boat, so when we get to an anchorage, the first thing I want to do is grill something. That was the plan for our first night on the hook, grilled steaks. Mmmm Mmmm good! But I am telling you, it was so cold … it was so cold that the flames would have frozen on the grill. It was so cold that I didn’t want to cook out!

The fog is starting to lift at Fort George
When we awoke the next morning, it was foggy, very foggy. Still, we could see for about ½ mile or more, so we decided to push on. Well, within the hour, the fog had really rolled in. I mean it really rolled in – to the point where we really couldn’t see more than maybe 100 yards ahead. So, we looked around and found a small anchorage at Fort George where we could stay until the fog lifted. We pulled off the ICW and very carefully started down the Fort George River. But not carefully enough.  Now, in my defense, all three sets of charts that we use show that there is about 8 feet of water at the entrance to the Fort George River at low tide. Unfortunately, the charts are not always right – and they weren’t right this time. We ran aground just inside the entrance.  Luckily, the tide was rising and we just needed to wait a half-hour or so before the tide lifted the boat and we headed back down the river to the anchorage.
We waited in the anchorage for a while and when the fog finally lessened (it never really lifted) we were back on the Intracoastal. We had intended to go to Marineland, a marina we had used before, but because of the delays we went to Saint Augustine instead. As we proceeded and the fog lessened, we were still not out of the woods as it started to rain – a lot; and it started to lightning – a lot. Anyway, we made it to the cold, wet mooring field in St. Augustine, had dinner and went to bed. 
When we woke up the following morning, the fog had caught up to us again. We started the engines and got ready to leave, but just as we did the fog became denser. Not only were boats near us covered by fog, but we could not see the shoreline at all. So we waited. And waited. The fog rolled in and rolled out – thought I am not sure it was on little cat feet. We could see the shoreline, then we couldn’t. About 11:30 AM we decided that we had to give it a shot, so we let loose the mooring ball and headed back into the ICW. Eventually, the fog cleared and toward the end of the day, just before we pulled into the Marineland Marina, we actually saw sun!

The weather was good enough that we went out for a walk on the beach. We really like Marineland because there is quite a bit to do. In good weather, you can kayak, run, bike, go to the dolphin research center, etc. After day 1, it was nice enough that we decided to go biking on day 2. There is a long (15 mile?) route along the highway that looked perfect for a ride. But when we got up, it was c-c-c-cold again. I know; I am a chicken rider. L You may find that to be a theme until we get to Palm Beach.

We stopped at New Smyrna Beach because there were not good anchorages in the area and because we hoped it might be warm enough to walk around a little and get some exercise. It wasn’t.

Next, we stopped at Cocoa, Florida. We had anchored here before, but we had never gone ashore and explored. This time we decided we would spend two days in Cocoa Village Marina  and check out the area a little. Well, the first thing that happened was that we saw Gallivant, a 56’ Jefferson Marquessa (the same kind as ours, only 4’ longer) with our friends Don and Pam. Pam was away so we just saw her for a few minutes the day we left, but we got to have drinks and spend more time with Don. Also in Cocoa, we found what seems like the biggest hardware store in the world, S.F Travis Hardware. They have seven buildings each with one or more floors. It was big.

Something else happened in Cocoa. We saw the sun and we found the 70 degree line!!!!!!! The second day we were there, we went out to explore the village that is near the marina and before we knew it we were shedding jackets and sweatshirts. It wasn’t much above 70, but we had finally made it.

After Cocoa we stayed two days on a mooring ball at Vero Beach, one of our favorite places in southern Florida (primarily because of the $13 cost for the mooring ball). We needed to wear sweatshirts most of the time, but it was still close to 70 in the afternoons. On the second day we took a 4 mile walk (read forced march) to the beach. Ann found a little shop where they served ice cream and ordered a cone. That was before she knew she would be attacked – or at least almost attacked – by a second attack bird, this time a seagull! He hovered about 3 feet over her head waiting for her to make a mistake, become less vigilant and give him a swooping angle. She, however, was determined that the gull would not get the ice cream cone so we both ended up taking BIG bites so we could finish before the bird became even more brazen.

After Vero, we traveled the 60+ miles to our preliminary destination, North Palm Beach Marina in (where else) North Palm Beach, Florida. It was nice the day we arrived. It was a little cloudy and not particularly beautiful, but nice. The second day was the best we had seen in months. It was so nice that we decided to clean the boat. It hadn’t been cleaned since thousands of birds pooped all over the deck in Brunswick. The rain, of course, had removed the worst of it, but we still needed to get down and dirty while cleaning the boat. There was a good part to it, however. Are you ready? Are you ready? We were sweating and actually got a little sun on our arms. Yessss! We had made it to the Promised Land – the 75 degree line.

In North Palm we are going to have some work done on the boat (heads and air conditioning), then head further south – all the way to Key West. And that will be the next entry.


ANN’S NOTES: Yes…Michael is a happy boater and I am adjusting to the warmer weather. It still has a ways to go, here in North Palm Beach in the morning it is still on the cold side. It does warm up in the early afternoon but cools off again in the evening. Plus it is windy most of the day…so in my mind the Promised Land is still further South.

The fog was pretty amazing…a pain in the derriere to navigate …but interesting to watch roll in and out with no real pattern that you could predict. The only thing you could count on was that it was cold and damp while waiting for it to clear.

Our return visits to familiar marinas, mooring field and anchorages is fun; we know where every thing is and all the worry is gone because…well…we have been there.

We have reunited with some old friends along the way and have made a few new ones. That I must say is one of the many fun things about cruising. You never know how is waiting to meet you.

Michael told you about our bird experiences. The pelican that hitched a ride with us, sitting on our kayak, was one very large bird. The wing span on Pelicans is at least five feet and they can fly just inches from the top of the water. We got to really study the pelican from large head, small eyes, to its very big webbed feet.

The seagull at Vero Beach must have been an extra for the Alfred Hitchcock movie The Birds. He REALLY wanted my ice cream. He flew behind me until the ice cream was eaten. Michael even threw some sand at him to make him go away but I think the bird had that trick done to him in the past. He was back before Michael could pick up another handful of sand. It was sorta scary to have that pointy beak aiming for your head. Lesson learned…always eat your ice cream under an umbrella while walking on the beach so the seagulls can’t see what you are doing.

Now I need to catch you up on the wild life count..I will go back to November of 2014. I did not have my list with me in VA went the last blog went out…so here we GO…

Friday 21 Nov 2014

·         1 Pod of 2 dolphins

·         3 single dolphins

·         1 splashing on the port side of the boat

·         1 playing in our bow wake

Saturday 22 Nov 2014

·         1 single dolphin

Saturday 29 Nov 2014

·         3 Single dolphins

·         1 pod of 2 dolphins

·         1 Deer

·         2 Horses

Sunday 30 Nov 2014

·         3 single dolphins

·         4 wild horses

·         3 deer

·         3 Armadillos

·         A bunch of beach birds

Monday 1 Dec 2014 (Cumberland Island)

·         Wild horses

·         4  Armadillos

·         1 Bald eagle

·         2 Deer

Thursday 4 Dec 2014

·         2 Single dolphins

Sunday 11 Jan 2015!!!! Our Current Trip

·         3 Kamikaze brown pelicans

·         4 Single dolphins

·         1 pod of 2 dolphins

Monday 12 Jan 2015

·         The tiniest baby crab on our anchor as I pulled it up…it was the size of my pinky nail

2 Pods of 2 dolphins

Tuesday 13 Jan 2015

·         1 Pod of 2 dolphins

·         1 pod of 3 dolphins

Thursday 15 Jan 2015

·         1 single dolphin

·         2 Pods of 2 dolphins

·         1 Bald eagle sitting on marker “G69”

Friday 16 Jan 2015

·         1 Bald eagle

·         2 single dolphins

·         1 pod of 2 dolphins playing on the starboard side of our boat

·         2 pods of 3 dolphins

·         1 pod of 4 dolphins

·         A flock of very bright pink Roseate Spoonbills…maybe Flamingos…not sure…but VERY PINK

Sunday 18 Jan 2015

·         1 single dolphin

·         1 pod of 3 dolphins

·         2 mom dolphins with a baby playing in our wake…baby was learning how to control her back fin and not bump into the other dolphins…she was semi successful in that task.

Monday 19 Jan 2015

·         Crazy ice cream craving attack Sea Gull

Thursday 20 Jan 2015

·         This was Dolphin Playful Thursday on the ICW…all the dolphins that came to the boat stayed and played for a while…I have a video to prove it…

·         5 Single dolphins

·         1 pod of 2

·         4 pods of 3

Thank you for reading and following our adventures…

Traveling Soul…OUT


Next blog we will have a surprise!!!!