Tuesday, December 21, 2010

St Mary's Ga. for Thanksgiving and south to Titusville Fl.

It’s now Sunday November 21st and we are still anchored at Cumberland Island. We may leave for St Mary’s this afternoon. Cumberland is a nice spot and hard to leave. A lot trails to walk and explore. The south end is tamer than the north with campgrounds and flush toilets and showers though not with hot water. We are not in any hurry at the moment.

The anchorage at St. Marys
 We are now anchored in St Mary’s along with about 20 other boats. There is a happy hour and meet and greet every day at five. More boats arrive regularly, most of the boats we passed or heard on the radio are coming in and the anchorage is getting crowded.
There is a cruiser’s net every morning and rides to Wal-Mart and for propane and to other stores On Thursday is the thanksgiving dinner with turkey supplied by the town and all the other fixings supplied by the cruisers.

It is now Nov. 26 and we are still in St Mary’s.

Where did we leave our dingy?
 Yesterday we had Thanksgiving pot luck with the turkey prepared by some local businesses and all the fixings prepared by the 320 boaters that came for dinner. It was a fantastic turnout and exceeded the organizers expectations. All wee we have had vans shuttling people to Wal-Mart, grocery stores and the “Big A” the propane place and other local businesses. All said it has been a great week here. We will be off to Fernandina tomorrow and then heading to Titusville where we will look for a place to leave the boat when I head home for Christmas. After that I will be sailing solo south and to the Bahamas.
Thanksgiving dinner for 320 cruisers

 We spent one night in Fernandina on a mooring and took in the sights of this tourist town. We went into the Palace Saloon. That has the distinction of being the last bar to close on the eve of prohibition.

The Pirates of Fernandina and their happy captive wenches

We left Fernandina about and headed to Pablo Creek to spend the night. The currents through here were as high as 2 knots. The south entrance had a new island forming so we had to use the north one after running aground. In the morning it took almost ten minutes to pull up 100 feet of chain and 25 feet of rode in the strong current. Passing through the narrow cut under the bridge was tricky due to the swirling current and standing waves. The ride to St Augustine was pretty uneventful even though the whole trip was slow going against the tidal current.

We arrived in St Augustine and passed through the Bridge of Lions at and took a mooring ball at the city marina. St Augustine has a lot of history dating back to the earliest Spanish settlement in North America. The history continues up to the modern age as this was where the Woolworth’s lunch counter sit in that help start the equal rights movement was held. It was also where bleach was poured on a black man that dared to swim in a motel pool in defiance of the “Undesirable Guest Law”. We walk through the area that was where the civil rights movement started and then head to a marine store that is more like a big box store than your West Marine outlet with row after row of marine parts. I pick up a couple more items for my boat to do bucket.

We spent an extra night here due to some cold weather fronts passing through. While here we went to Sailors Exchange and found the stainless tubing I would need for a dodger for $80. It was bent at just the right dimensions for our boat. There were enough extra tube and fittings that we are able to assemble it with only having to buy four deck hinges. There is also a marine store more like a big box store than your usual West Marine store with very good prices and I found a composite propane tank for the boat for $125.00, A “Q” flag for entering the Bahamas and 1200 feet of 25lb test fishing line just in case I was feeling lucky on the night crossing to the Bahamas. We spent two days on a mooring and toured some sights, changed the engine oil and enjoyed yet another potluck on another couples boat where we met a young German couple who were sailing the coast on their boat.

Our next stop was to be Daytona Beach where we had to worry about the sewage police boarding the boat with guns drawn and dye pellets for the head and big fines should they detect any leaks. We had our through hulls secured shut and were ready but didn’t see a single official boat the whole day. We anchored just off the intracoastal in about 8 feet of water among several other boats, live aboard’s and cruisers. We had dinner on Mandate and left early the next morning for the run down to Titusville. There were many little islands along this section of the waterway, some that you could anchor behind. After making the turn and passing through a lift bridge we could see the destination just past one last bridge. It was early afternoon when we tied up at the municipal marina for fuels and water.


After checking out the costs at the two marinas we moved over to Westland Marina for a $100 savings for a month stay. Westland is a DYI yard where many boaters were doing work on their boats. We arranged with the A-team to get a dodger made with a transition piece to connect to the bimini to give us complete coverage from the cabin to the stern. It was $1800.00 for everything including restitching our bimini, adding an extra bow for support and adding zippers all around so we could enclose the whole cockpit at a later time. They did a great job and gave us good service.

Jeanne left for home on the 10th, she had to return to work and I will head home for two weeks on the 17th. In January I will be taking the boat farther south and then to the Bahamas as soon as I get a weather window. I hope to check in a Lucaya where they may still be giving out 180 day cruising permits instead of the 30 to 90 day permits at other ports. It seems that if you want a longer permit now you have to beg for up to a 90 day permit, if you are Canadian you need a visa to extend it or have to leave the country and check into another country and then return. The policy is not applied evenly seems to depend on who you get and the mood the officer is in. Check out the Bahamas section of http://www.cruiseresnet.net/

More to follow, Merry Christmas everyone

4 knot tidal current under bridge