Thursday, June 12, 2003
We finally made it back on the Loop.
We spent May in NY and Rhode Island moving into the condo on Long Island
and attending our 45th reunion at Brown in perpetual rain. We
drove back to Florida, packed up the boat, and are ready to have a different
kind of fun.
After a winter of work for Kay, well only 3 months as temporary director of therapeutic recreation, she said it was nice to be the
one recreating instead of just telling others how to provide the services.
Pearce spent his “lonely” hours painting.
No, not the townhouse wall, although Kay convinced him to paint an
underwater seascape on the bathroom wall. He
came home one day with an easel, some canvases, a whole lot of oil paints, and
an assortment of brushes. During
our Loop and while we were in Boynton Beach, we had gone to several art shows,
saw some things we liked, and saw a lot that was not even art.
Pearce decided that it was time to resume an avocation he had enjoyed
when younger. The walls of our
townhouse are now adorned with paintings of our courtyard, various birds,
waterfront scenes, flowers, and some portraits. We even have a triptych hanging above the bed on Kibon.
Pearce brought along his easel and a few blank canvases,
so if we have any spare time on the trip north, we’ll have a few more
paintings hanging before we get to Long Island.
We left our dock at Boynton Beach Inlet at 4 pm and
reached Singer Island and the Peanut Island Anchorage by 7:30.
Since most of the bridges stay closed during the commuter hour, we had to
wait at Southern Bridge for 45 minutes, but the rest of the trip was uneventful.
This has become our “home” waters.
Friday, June 13 Kay
had had some minor surgery on one of her nasal passages Thursday before we left,
and she woke up this morning with what appeared to be a terrible head cold and a
raspy throat. Pearce wanted to get
an early start, so he took his coffee up to the bridge to get underway and
suggested that Kay stay in bed for a while longer.
As the morning hours progressed, the cold gave way to lethargy, and Kay
slept the day away. Pearce stopped at Harbortown Marina in Fort Pierce for
diesel. It was $1.33 including tax
with the Boat US discount. Kay
merely grunted and flapped her hand when he suggested staying for the night ($1
a foot plus $7 electricity). She
slept on while he had a delicious meal of mussels at the restaurant.
Saturday, June 14.
Today is Flag Day. We are
already carrying our flag, but Kay wanted to put up another appropriate
decoration. Unfortunately, nothing
has been properly stowed, and she didn’t feel up to hunting for anything.
She retreated to the stateroom again.
Sometime during the afternoon, she came up for air and found that Pearce
had made a profound discovery. As
long as he was not in congested areas, he could navigate Kibon from the lower
helm where it was AIR CONDITIONED. Kay
felt up to sitting in the Captain’s seat and monitoring Hal’s progress
between the markers. Hal, the autopilot works beautifully, and only occasionally
does he go crazy and try to devour one of the poles.
is definitely too late in the season to leave Florida.
80+ degree weather is not pleasant, but this year we had no choice.
We couldn’t leave until mid-April, and we had the commitments up north
in May. Hopefully, next year when
we head north again, it will be in balmy weather when we can enjoy the ample
bridge area. Hey, Dale and Gregg,
we’ve only lived on your boat for three days, and we love it!
We took a short (less than one mile) side trip to see
the Dragon at Dragon Point at the lower end of the Banana River.
This has been a local wonder since it was commissioned in 1971 by Aynn
Christal who lived in the house adjoining the point.
She decided that her children needed a plaything in the backyard.
She hired a sculptor from Tampa who started a 200 foot statue of a
dragon. It was completed in 1982.
The guide book says this is “how the juncture of the Banana and the
Indian rivers came to be guarded by a creature that
would seem a bit more at home in the days of King Arthur and the Knights of the
Round Table.” The sculptor had
better come back. The poor dragon
has collapsed, his head is almost in the water, and only his tail remains
to threaten any trespassers. We
anchored today at Addison Point south of Titusville, north of the bridge nestled
next to a spoils area.
Sunday, June 15.
Happy Father’s Day. Our
friend Marilyn told me that her grandson invited his sister and their dad to a
showing of “Nemo” – and he has earned the money to pay for it.
I think that’s a great idea. Everyone
has a good time.
Kay is finally back in style, she made breakfast while
Pearce navigated from the inside station. Then
she spent the morning organizing the huge piles of junk stowed in the forward
cabin. We stowed all kinds of empty
bags and boxes under the aft master bunk. The
forward drawers and cubby holes are now places for sewing and office supplies, a
linen cabinet, art supplies, fishing things, and other kinds of gurry that are
needed. Pearce had installed the
computer and accessories in the ‘makeup’ desk in the master stateroom.
It has all kinds of storage behind the doors and drawers.
Kay certainly won’t miss a makeup area!!!
We traveled through New Smyrna Beach, Dayton Beach,
and up the Halifax River/Tomoka River Basins.
These areas mark their civilizations back to (our) pre-history of Native
Americans. The more modern history
of settlements under Spanish rule with the unfortunate destruction of the
plantations during the Seminole wars is even more difficult to understand.
The vast plantations that people had built that would cultivate our
country were lost. These areas have
become towns and homesteads rather than agricultural lands.
The area has grown to meet the demands.
It was beautiful to cruise down the miles and miles of lovely land.
Homes were built on some of the eastern shores, but it was great to look
out over the western areas of water, trees, and nothing else but Nature.
entered the Concrete Plant Canal Anchorage – actually Pearce said, “We
haven’t gone 80 miles yet”, and Kay said, “We’ve gone 76 miles and
there’s nothing further.” We
entered this anchorage, which is at mile 809, is an old Concrete Plant, and is
currently the testing facility for Sea Rays.
Pearce suggested that we can always test out a new boat – many of you
have done this before! Anyway, we
anchored at the end of the canal (I hope they don’t start work at 6 am).
We have been followed by another trawler who successfully anchored near
us. Two sailboats have been
maneuvering for two hours to anchor here. One is very successful, the other can’t seem to handle
anything. They have been moving
back and forth, going out to the entrance, coming back, trying to find a place
to spend the night. On that note,
we say “Good Night.”
Monday, June 16. Another beautiful morning. We were up and ready to
leave just about the same time the workers were arriving at the Sea Ray plant,
and we headed north again. We passed many beautiful homes along the Palm
Coast. We scooted by Marineland with Pearce promising that we can visit on
the way back south. We continued up the Matanzas River to St. Augustine
Beach where we docked at the Municipal Marina (for $5 an hour!) We went
looking for a restaurant we had enjoyed on a previous trip, but it was so hot
that we had lunch at Harry's New Orleans's Bar and retreated back to the
boat. By that time, the clouds had gathered and cooled the sun by a few
degrees. We soon passed the inlet and the high rise bridge, looked to the
right to Vilano Beach and soon saw the roofs of the condos where sister and
spouse Margie & Gene spent a few winter months a year ago. We waved.
The trip up to Jacksonville Beach was interesting, to say the least. Many
miles are wide open stretches of marshland -- lonely but beautiful with birds
and fish (oh, could Pearce wish he could catch one). Dolphins swam along
with the boat, and we even saw a Manatee. The homes along the way are
incredible because there is no rhyme or reason to them. They jump from
old-time (50's) Florida ranches to state-of-the-art multi-storied
mansions. The building boom seems to have arrived here--small places are
being replaced with huge mansions. Most of the plots are small, but they
are being maximized. There are no large boats. Most are small and
fast and are kept in lifts out of the reach of nasty wakes from huge power
cruisers. The styles of the homes are also interesting. Southern
belles, fretwork encrusted Victorians, Spanish haciendas, friendly Florida
splanches, and even a castle or two -- all are in evidence along the
waterway. Even the shoreline changes. Most everyone has some kind of
bulkheading, but the shore goes in and out. Are people reclaiming 10' or
more of land, or did they put in their stakes before the rest eroded away???
We passed Jacksonville Beach, watched the Navy helicopters maneuvering over
their air space (one came over to check us out -- must have been a quiet
moment), crossed the St. John's River, and were observed (closely) by a small
craft who wanted to be sure we weren't taking pictures of the shipyard, entered
the Sisters Creek and continued north. We took a right turn at Fort George
River and continued cautiously down to the Kingsley Plantation where we are
anchored right in front. This is a shallow river that is traveled by small
boats so we are not impeding anyone's passage. The history of this island
goes back to 1674, and three of its owners were prominent in the development of
the state. The house opens at 8 am -- maybe we can bring our bowls of
cereal while we tour.
Tuesday, June 17. We left too early to tour Kingsley
-- that's another thing to do when we come back down next Fall. We
crossed Nassau Sound, ran up to Fernandina where we bought diesel and
filled up the water tanks. Pearce wanted to get some fuel consumption
figures. It worked out to 1.3 miles per gallon, which is not very
good. We have had the generator on since we left Fort Pierce (where we
last filled up) because it has been so hot we even needed the air conditioner at
anchor. We used 6.67 gallons of fuel per hour of travel. We'll see
if the numbers improve as we cruise through less sticky climates.
As we were crossing Cumberland Sound we spotted one of the new Trident
submarines being escorted to the Atlantic. It didn't even have any
markings on it yet. The escort vessels were loaded with all kinds of
personnel, and the small Coast Guard boats were keeping other boats at a safe
distance. We had to pull out of the channel to watch the parade go
by. The Navy complex at St. Mary's is where they built these
submarines. We headed into the Sea Islands of Georgia. They're also
known as the Golden Isles -- right now they are lushly green. We crossed
St. Andrew's Sound. There are shoals where the Satilla River empties into
the Atlantic, so we really go out to the Ocean before we again head back west
and north. Thrilling. Pearce said, "See...it's a piece of
cake. Let's just head north." Kay said, "And miss all
those beautiful, golden islands?" So we continued up the ICW, passed
the Millionaire's Island of Jekyll, crossed St. Simon's Sound, passed St. Simon
and Little St. Simon's Islands, crossed Doboy Sound and found a nice anchorage
up the Duplin River between Sapelo and Little Sapelo Islands. We are
tucked in for the night between the University of Georgia's research vessel and
a cruising Mainship. Pearce had written a story years ago about Doboy
Sound and Sapelo Island. He said the real thing is exactly how he imagined
Wednesday, June 18. We cruised through the twists and turns of the
marshlands. We can see other boats that seem to be sliding through the
grass. Then the grass parts, a waterway opens up, and the boat chugs
by. Yesterday we passed a car riding through the grass closely followed by
a low-lying boat. When they got to open water, we saw a boat pushing a
small ferry with a car and other freight piled on board. There are summer
homes out on the islands -- accessible by boat, no electricity, and everything
has to be brought in. Just like the houses out on our Great South Bay at
home. Somewhat like the more primitive houses we saw on the islands in
Georgian Bay last summer. We looked for the house we'd liked several years
ago near Darien -- it had a deep water creek at its back door that lead out to
the Sapelo River. There are many homes lining the mainland shores.
Most of them are down the end of long dusty roads from the main road, but their
backyards look out across the gorgeous marshes. Pearce said, "What a
wonder to be a child growing up here with an outboard to explore all the twists
Speaking of exploring, we passed an encampment of young boys (Scouts?) who were
cleaning up from their breakfast and getting ready to take on the new day.
They had packed in on their kayaks from somewhere. We crossed Sapelo Sound
followed by, following, and encountering shrimpers with their nets flung far out
like wings. The guide book warned cruisers and sailboats to give wide
berth to the shrimp boats. They are concentrating on their nets and are
not paying attention to cruising boats. Apparently, sailboats who presumed
that the rules of the road gave them precedence over shrimpers have had untimely
dismasting when neither boat gave way! We crossed St. Catherine's and
Ossabaw Sounds, ran through Hell Gate. Pearce said that some of these
passages are very interesting at high tide. The chart indicates land and
all you see in front of you is water. Yesterday's trip during the
afternoon was at low water, and we could see wide swaths of mud flats. The
navigational aides are necessary and good.
We're parked at The Landings Yacht Club on the Skidaway River. Ann and
Jerry Hanley live here, and we used to stop in Savannah on our way South each
winter by car. We're looking forward to spending a few days visiting and
restocking. They plan to play a twilight golf game with friends, and they
have left their car for us to go to the store. We will join them for
dinner and catching-up.
Tomorrow's a rest day... but little rest for cruising sailors: wash and vacuum
the boat, do a load of laundry, fill the water tanks, update the charts,
etc., etc. There's news that the Skidaway Narrows portion of the waterway just
ahead will be closed for cable laying activity Saturday and Sunday, so Friday
will have to be getaway day. Love Savannah, but time to forge ahead...