Friday, November 30, 2012

Lake Worth

From Peck Lake down the ICW to the anchorage at Lake Worth there are seven bridges. Three open upon request (request may mean the guy will open it when he feels like it) and four at a specified time (which may also mean when the guy feels like it). The bottom line to transiting this area is, be careful. If the currents are going with you you may need to circle in a very narrow freeway, or master the art of going in reverse in a straight line. You should also do your calculations before you leave your anchorage, figuring how long it will take you between bridges, that way you can either hurry up or ride with the current and little forward speed. Just a recommendation. Some bridgetenders are accommodating, but most are plainly just pains in the ass and napoleanonic. If you get the picture. There is no rude word capable of describing the bridgetender at the 707 bridge.

Boat name of the day observed: Aloha Friday. Love it.

We managed to anchor smack dab in what looks like a channel here in North Lake Worth although where it goes is beyond me. We are in front of Plan B, a Hunter sailboat that dragged down on our friends on Civil Twilight causing major damage without accepting any of the blame. It appears that in the year we have been off of cruising there has been talk of an anchorage fee for boats located in a certain area (see the Skipper Bob guide, or ignore it like my Captain did). In any event, most of the boats are anchored away from us on the other side of the "channel", except for dummies on Plan B and us. Hmmm.

Heading Northwest from the anchorage you will come to an area that cruisers have designated the landing area. Lock your dinghy! At high tide you will be knee deep. Walking west you will come to a Publix where you can sneak your garbage into their dumpsters. There is plenty of shopping here but you will have to walk a piece and you will find aa good burger at Duffys. Don't mail anything in the drop mailbox in the Publix strip mall, two times it has taken several months for my mail to reach its destination. Hopefully we will find another or there will be no joy in Mudville for our children during the holidays. (Speaking of Mudville, we watched Moneyball the other night. Fantastic. I wish my aunt had seen it.)

Incidentally, our first year of cruising we entered the Lake Worth inlet and anchored in what is now known to us as the South anchorage. No wonder we didn't meet many cruisers, until we figured out there was a North anchorage. Duh.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Moving On to Peck Lake

Sadly, Savage Son has been unable to beat their overheat problem and they encouraged us to get a move on. So reluctantly, we left the Vero Beach Municipal Marina and dropped anchor a few hours later off Bob and Bev's marina at Fort Pierce where they had met Civil Twilight at our suggestion. The greatest part of cruising is making new friends and sharing them, passing along good companionship. So, that night we dinghied in for cocktails and dinner with Gerry, Al, and the Savages.

Today is Nov 27th and we are anchored at Peck Lake where on two previous occasions we have found wonderful cowrie shells. This time, no luck. But we enjoyed a good walk on the beach and found some less spectacular additions to our collection.

The chart shows no water here at Peck Lake, but we follow Skipper Bob's Cruising Guide and cut in off the ICW south of #19 to find a narrow strip of deep water, in excess of 10 feet. A short dink ride will lead you to a path to the ocean and some good exercise, if not a cowrie.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Trekking down the ICW to Vero and Thanksgiving

We have reached our first important destination, Vero Beach in Florida, after a two week journey. Early mornings, lots of wind, shallow water, early nights, drizzle and fog. Sound like fun?

We usually go offshore, which means we exit the intercoastal waterway through an inlet into the Atlantic Ocean and sail for hours and usually days without worrying about running aground or big sportfishers and assorted powerboats throwing big wakes as they pass you. But the weather wouldn't let us outSo we ran down the ICW being constantly vigilant. A few times I strayed and the ever aware captain became Ahab-like. I obviously wasn't paying close enough heed to the spoken word so he texted me "this is what happens when you don't pay attention":

We have never proceeded past St. Augustine on the ICW, but despite constant dreary skies and drizzle, it was quite pleasant. The vast majority of the bridges open upon on request and we found lots of water with a few exceptions. Lots of anchorages, and few power boats.

Vero Beach is mecca for boaters. Moorings at $20 a night are very protected and there is a great swap library, weekly pot lucks, a free bus that takes you everywhere (West Marine, Sams Club, Publix, ritzy shopping, consignment stores, Target, Home Goods, you name it). Tons of cruisers come here for Thanksgiving put on by the Power Squadron. We have never attended, being lucky to have friends who became CLODS here (cruisers living on dirt). We always run into lots of folks we know, this year Chris and Karen on Synergy, Marilyn and Carl on Discovery, Kitty and Scott on Tamare, and we are rafted with Corbett and Robin on Cookie Monster. There's another Hylas 44 here, and we dropped by to say heh to Prue and Burt on Exuberant who are also headed to the Bahamas.

This year we stayed a few nights with Bob and Bev Schneider from Savage Son, who live down the road from Jay and Di formerly of Far Niente and now land cruisers. We met Megan, Bev's son Brian's new fiancee and heartily agree she will be a great addition to the family and our circle of friends. We moved down the road and extended our land stay at the Howells. Lots of water! Lots of wine! Lots of great company, and Tinkerbelle the princess puppy.

Thanksgiving was held at the Howells with Bev making the big bird and all of us providing the sides. We missed the company of the Temples and Barlowes but commemorated our last Thanksgiving together with the traditional gravy moth. This year we met Robin and Michael from Sea Biscuit who accompanied the Savages while we supported the Northern Neck construction trade during our year off. And we were introduced to The Milk of Life, a locally retailed eggnog.

We have been providing moral support to the the Schneiders and their engine overheat issue, determined to wait out their discovery of the cause and repair before we move South without them. They are nearly out of possible solutions despite the significant talent available to them. We continue to cross our fingers, and my newly pedicured toes, complete with glitter.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

R38 Matanzas River

I forgot to mention in yesterday's post that we anchored by R38 on the Matanzas River. Apparently this used to be shallow but the daymarker was moved so we did not see any skinny water. We pulled west of the red and anchored in 12 feet of water at low tide. Not protected but winds were 15 or less and the holding was good. Bad Boy, our new internet booster, found us an unlocked signal so we enjoyed pulling down information on today's trip from Active Captain. This site is put together by a boater who has now aligned with Garmin (!) and has great info about marinas, anchorages, shallow spots, and boat goodies.

It is another dreary day with limited visibility but good currents are running so we can put miles behind us and find the end of this trough that is hanging over our heads.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Cumberland/Fernandina/Made Up Anchorage by R38

On Sunday the 11th we set anchor by Cumberland Island right behind Civil Twilight, whom we have not seen for two years. At one time I knew what civil twilight meant but forgot by the time I met Gerry and Al, who reinformed me: "that time of day right after sunset and right before sunrise when twilight is the brightest". I try to use that term whenever I can. It's so cool, and a great time of day.

Cumberland Island is also very cool. There are hiking trails, a beach with tons of cool shells, including whelks which I owned zero of until this visit, wild horses once owned by the Carnegies and let loose by their mistress's upon her death years and years ago, and ruins to explore. There are trees older than us, elegant covered by spanish moss.
We love this place.

On the second night we had dinner aboard C.T. Gerry is a great cook and Al is a hoot with beautiful blue eyes. Unfortunately we spend little time together since they hang in the Abacos where they charter their boat, as they do in the summers near their home in Maine.

The next day we moved to Fernandina Beach. I love hearing the captains call in to the marina there. Men seem unable to pronounce Fernandina (including mine, at least in the days of yore). As remote as Cumberland is, in town here is high class shopping and Freds, where you can by anything you want. We finished our holiday shopping and that monkey is now off of my back.

We now have a thing on board our boat that you should NEVER EVER EVER HAVE: a schedule. We are trying to get to Vero Beach where many of our friends live or have already arrived, in record time. So, on today's voyage we spent 10 hours getting to our current anchorage about an hour past St. Augustine, another cool destination we will miss this trip.

So, this big butt sport fisher asks us today for a slow pass, (more on this some other time) and as he mosies on by I note her name: "Useless". I hail the captain and observe that his wife must have named his boat. He comes back and advises me she is named after his wife, and later confirms that he isn't kidding. I think that's a stitch. I am sure Mrs. Useless enjoys a large jewelry box.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Birds, Stars, and 2 Nights at Sea

On Wednesday the 7th of November we abandoned the comfort of River Dunes Marina in Oriental, North Carolina where we had run from the nor’easter that really never happened here. River Dunes is a luxury development in process that offers tennis courts, Southern styled cottages for rent or sale, a marina with fuel, a restaurant, a pool and a fitness center.
I would not be surprised to return here one day to find a golf course. Hopefully the owners are patient and have deep pockets. During this offseason visit, we paid $1 a foot for dockage. This compares to $2.25 charged last visit in Beaufort, North Carolina, where the fairways are narrow and the current fierce, adding to the customary drama of docking. The entrance to the manmade basin at River Dunes is narrow but carries at least the 7 ½ feet advertised. We ignored the sound advice of our friend Steve Snyder who suggested we modify our plan to anchor out by the Beaufort Coast Guard Station and take the time to head to the Cape Lookout anchorage. But this is about six miles away in the wrong direction (say, one hour each way in sailor time). Since the CG anchorage was well protected from the NW winds and several other boats had also ignored Steve and chose to drop the hook there, we chose to join them. Either as a result of the BBQ short ribs and perfect CC manhattan or the rolly wakes or surge or whatever, I did not sleep much. The freeze warning didn’t help my insomnia either. The next morning we took off after coffee for offshore, riding a favorable current out of the Beaufort inlet and raising sail. For a few hours we enjoyed a good ride until the breeze went west early, and we could not sail. Now it is over 36 hours later and we have no wind, but are enjoying the resulting flat seas for our second night underway. Crazy thing about stars at sea. There are trillions, obvious without the ambient light of the city. As civil twilight wanes, there seems to always be at least one star, or a planet, which you are convinced is a boat and where the heck did it come from. And maybe I am just lucky but regardless of the time of year of any night passage I have done, I have always seen a shooting star, and last night I counted three. This year the birds have been active, curious and frequent visitors aboard First Edition. We can count on an avian visit each ocean voyage, and this journey, so far, we have had multiple dropins from goldfinches and a larger brown bird I could not identify. Perhaps Sandy had blown these fellas North, and they, like us, are having a late start for our winter destinations.
Under power we are making decent time and our plans to make for St. Simon Inlet for a Brunswick, Georgia stop may be modified with an additional five hours tacked on to get to Cumberland Island. This former island resort of the Carnegies, electrified before every major US city but one by their good friend Mr. Edison, is the last stop before hitting the land of ballot chads and slow counting. Perhaps by the time we make landfall Florida will have determined their election results.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Cruising Again after a Year of Changes

A year of changes. We built a house and watched as our friends still cruising headed South. Other friends took full time jobs, beat cancer, lost to cancer, became land cruisers, got new dogs, and started to date again. We took on new friends, neighbors with similar tastes and drinking habits. We rejoiced, and we mourned. On July 10th we were blessed with our grandson, Sullivan Elias.
No, he was not named for the pilot who landed in the Hudson River. But Peter’s father Elias has been memorialized and his memory will live on with this namesake. Sully is so precious. And huge. On July 20th my Aunt Dar passed away. Since moving in with us again in February, she faced many trials and became my full time job. I am so blessed to have had her in my life. She was the world’s biggest Yankee Fan, and we buried her with a Yankee hat, a bobble head Tino Martinez, and a picture of Robin Ventura. And added the Yankee logo to her headstone.