Friday, March 31, 2017

Bye bye Jacksonville – Hello Fernandina Beach

Our view from the mooring field

In typical fashion, it’s difficult to sit still while docked at a marina but here we are in Fernandina Beach.  This area was severely impacted by Hurricane Matthew and the marina, fuel docks and pump out facility were destroyed.  The owner opted to not rebuild, therefore we are on a mooring ball for the weekend.  And IT IS WINDY!!!  But we are safe with our traveling buddies Mike & Karen on Tranquillity III.

We waited for a train in downtown Jacksonville
 A little recap while in Jacksonville at Ortega River Marina:

We were so excited to see a former colleague and his wife, Doug & Becky. Such a nice visit and it’s so nice to know they are home in Jacksonville!  Charlie & I shared the adventure of public transportation and it was an eye opener!  But we are learning that public bus routes allow us to see random acts of kindness! And to overhear the bragging rights of jail time…the spectrum is wide!
We (Karen & I) walked a 4 mile loop and fell in love with the homes and neighborhood…sorry no pics!  And the usual chores…grocery, West Marine, laundry.

Tranquillity III
Today (Friday ) was quite windy but we were ready to travel so Mike & Karen joined us.  The fluid plan is to be in Charleston SC around Easter.

In closing, here’s a little scary fact of the general public:

Thursday evening we (Mike, Karen, Charlie & I) stopped at a local spot for dinner – it was Fish Taco Thursday! Our waiter/server sang through the beverage/meal specials…

Him: Until 7 we have 2 for 1 blah, blah, blah…

Mike: So that’s the same as buy one, get one free?

Him: Well…ummmm…almost

Yes, ladies & gentlemen, proof positive that common sense IS a super power and not all who walk among us possess it.  Don’t allow your children to leave home without it!

On a serious note, the wildfires in the area (you may hear about on national news) are about 5 miles from us. We can see the smoke on the horizon.  Of course, we are on the water in no danger.

Have a blessed Friday….and Go Lady Bulldogs!!  Yes, we will be watching!!

Evidence remains from Hurricane Matthew

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Industrial Tuesday in Jacksonville

Napoleon Bonapart Broward Bridge aka Dames Point Bridge - Impressive!!

It was a short travel day on Tuesday…25ish miles.  We had a very unique sightseeing journey…mostly industrial and very interesting!

Our first encounter with the US Customs & Border Patrol – I invited them on board but they just wanted to chat.  Super friendly and the young man on the bow was very kind and respectful.  I think they saw our hailing port from MS and just wanted to hear our accent! LOL!!

I’ll let the pictures do the talking:

Ever wonder how the "Made in..." products get here??

Now THAT'S a delivery!!
And if you're ever on the St. John's River and the Jacksonville Jaguars are playing...just pull up to the sea wall and walk to Ever Bank Field!  I shot these pics from the TOP of the boat (like above the fly bridge)...there were so many cranes & freighters, it was hard to get the right angle.
Ever Bank Field from the water

The Jacksonville Landing in the shadows of B I G buildings

We are docked at Ortega River Marina for a couple days…looking forward to visiting with a couple friends from days gone by.  We have already walked the area – Panera Bread for lunch, Publix, Lens Crafters (me), Rack Room Shoes (Charlie), West Marine – you know, the usual route.

For us, the Ortega River Marina is a gated community - the bridge had to open - we were too tall
We hope you have a blessed Tuesday & look forward to a Wonderful Wednesday!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Docked in the boondocks of Jacksonville

The Lower Place docked for Monday night

As much fun as St. Augustine was – we threw off the lines Monday morning (8:30) and headed north toward Jacksonville.  While we have no particular schedule, it was nice to see the flat lands/Delta of Florida AND have the opportunity to tie to a FREE city dock in the middle of marsh land (we are in 11’ of water at low tide) aka Jacksonville.

Lion's Gate Bridge - antennas down - we had about 18' to spare
 Along the way we passed under several bridges – some with only inches to spare – and enjoyed the usual sights of monster homes and boat docks.  Since we had very few “No Wake” zones and the wind and current were helping us along, the 35 mile day was over by 1:30!!  We have several other boats docked with us – familiar friends we met along the way.
...and you have to be on the look out for kayaks...

The current was so strong under this bridge - it pushed us from 7.2mph to 12.3mph! Luckily not sideways!

Perfect location - in a bend of the Atlantic ICW
Charlie & I ventured out for a walk (stroll) around the area and well…there’s not much here!  A public boat ramp & separate canoe/kayak/paddle board ramp, clean restrooms (I checked), playground and the Jacksonville Sailfish Tournament headquarters building.  Across the dead end road is an RV Park surrounded by No Trespassing signs – interesting marketing/business building concept.  Beyond that is highway, highway, highway (4-6 lanes) so we have limited land exploration opportunity and NO available transportation to find civilization.  Good thing things we are well provisioned and self sufficient!!

The neighborhood for the evening
We will use this afternoon and perhaps Tuesday to review charts and distances regarding the St. John’s River.  According to other boaters, the St. John’s River side trip is well worth the few days it will take – strangely it runs back to (almost) Melbourne.  We will do the homework to make an informed decision.

Now, if you’ll excuse me – I need to reapply sunscreen – it’s hot & sunny out here!
Today's office view

Be blessed!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

St. Augustine FL - A MUST SEE!!

St. Augustine - one of the MANY amazing structures

We have traveled over 2000 miles and the main question I hear is “What has been your favorite stop?”  ALL OF THEM!! But St. Augustine will go on the “return again by car” list…WOW WOW WOW!

Maybe it’s the clear blue skies, bright sunshine, first time on land in 3 days, fabulous architecture or being in the center of real American History…but this city is phenomenal.  Get in the car and come on down!!

The Lower Place docked between the sail boat masts - zoom in & you can see Charlie taking my pic on the bridge
 Since we spent the past 3 weeks in Melbourne, we’ve lost touch with the looper circle.  St.Augustine Municipal Marina changed all that!  We met never-seen-before loopers and they felt like long lost friends.  But most importantly we had a surprise visit from our former neighbors and long-time friends Wendell and Paige!!  They drove from their new home in Valdosta GA just to have dinner with us!!  We had a wonderful visit on the aft deck, a delicious meal at O C White’s and more visiting after dinner.  Then they headed back home.  It hard to explain the excitement in my heart when I see a familiar face from “land life”…but the joy of seeing Wendell and Paige still has me smiling today.  GREAT FRIENDS!

Sunday morning brought a fabulous sunrise and a 3 mile run! The weather, scenery and just the ability to run on dry land was all the encouragement I needed.  I wasn’t alone because people were everywhere – always a good sign.

The reading nook at the breakfast cafe - cool lamp idea!
 Charlie joined me for breakfast at a quaint out-of-the-way cafĂ©.  We strolled toward the boat but met a few loopers so we (he) stopped to talk.  I headed south to see the Florida National Guard Headquarters – impressive.  I circled through a residential area and back to where I left Charlie – he was still talking but to a different person.

The best way to see a town is before people wake up

Then we headed out on our own foot tour of the city (shops we just opening).  We saw and smelled so many things, read plaques, bought a few post cards and a piece of “furniture”. Then it was back to the boat for real this time.  I needed a shower and the laundry fairy wasn’t on duty today.  Charlie stayed on the boat to inspect one of the central AC units, it doesn’t seem to be cooling…hmmmm…
Everyone needs an outdoor lounge chair - suspended from the dinghy cable! New Furniture!

Enjoy your Sunday and start planning a long weekend in St. Augustine – PLENTY of really cool looking Bed & Breakfast establishments!!

This city must be great - this post seems to be about non-water views!
God Bless!!

Very impressive - Proud to be an American!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Moving on the water!!

This morning was decision time…leave the anchorage with windy, rocky conditions or stay put and see what the day brings?  We opted to believe the local weather (winds decreasing by noon) and pulled up anchor – a LOT of anchor!!  While we were only anchored in 7’ of water, the 200’ of rode (line & chain) was necessary given the wave/wind conditions – yes, boys and girls, traditional math is essential to boating!

We were underway by 8:01AM and traveled 70 miles in 9 hours…wind, current & rain was also paired with a little sunshine.  Tonight we are anchored in a canal off the Atlantic ICW on the fringe of Flagler Beach in calm, flat water.  Tomorrow we will head to St. Augustine for the weekend!!  We are looking forward to getting off the boat, washing the salt spray away and most of all…meeting some friends from our old neighborhood (who now live in Valdosta GA) for dinner!!  How exciting!!

We did have several photo ops along the way…Have a blessed weekend!!

Daytona Beach Skyline

Artwork on The Daytona Beach Bridge pylons

A "Fixer Upper" along the way

Campgrounds EVERYWHERE...
...and fishing across the channel!!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Titusville FL part 2

Almost Sunset Wednesday 3/22/17 Titusville FL

What a difference a day makes…and we are still in Titusville. Our day started before dawn with thunder, lightning and lots of wind!  While Charlie thought the situation called for a pot of coffee, I opted for a quick trip to the aft deck to confirm we were secure (we were) and then crawled back into the bed until some sort of daylight appeared!

The rains continued throughout the morning – there were wind advisories, boat advisories, storm advisories – and we were snug as a bug in a boat securely anchored in the harbor.  The rain stopped around noon, the sun peeked through and the wind continued…I napped and read and napped a little more!  Charlie stayed on the aft deck and fly bridge – it was too windy to venture out on the bow.

At anchor in Titusville FL
This is a picture of the anchor pulpit. What you can’t see - the line (aka rope) is extended 200’ and attached to the line is 50’ of 3/8” chain –  smartly fastened to a 66# anchor!  I don’t think we are going anywhere & if we should have a “drag” issue, we are 1 of 4 boats in this great big harbor – we will have ample time to correct the issue.

Due to the strong winds (20-25mph) we have been on board all day since it was too dangerous to use the dinghy.  Charlie called the local marina in Titusville to check on availability and there is room but we decided to stay put today.  According to the local weather reports, the rain is gone but the winds will continue until Saturday.  Friday we will re-assess our location and probably head to the marina (to get off the boat) or cruise to New Smyrna (that will be a long day). 

Moderate chop in the anchorage (2-3')
The rocking and rolling of the boat hasn’t been terrible…except when I tried to make dinner!  The down galley kitchen almost caused “unfortunate ingredients” from me so Charlie took over…whew!!  I headed to the aft deck for fresh air and a view of the horizon…ugh!  One hour and 12 ounces of Gatorade later I felt human again…Thank you Jesus!!

We hope you have a super happy Friday Eve and I will be in touch tomorrow for a location update!  As I finish this post, I notice the winds have slowed & waves have lost their white caps...good new for a restful night!

God Bless!