Monday, January 5, 2015

Fernandina Beach Back to Jacksonville

After leaving the state line we headed south with the intention of finding a nice hidey hole for the next couple of days.

We ducked into a little creek thinking we would wait out the bad weather and dropped the anchor.  When we awoke the next morning...Yikes!  Low tide revealed we almost landed on a shelf of oyster shells!

 About 2 hours later it looked like this! We were right at the edge.

We were swinging around on the anchor with the changing current and the next tide we landed on the bank and spend 6 hours at a 20 degree angle. We didn't like the idea of hanging out here dealing with the shifting currents and the weather was slated to be crap for the next week or better. So we took the dinghy to a nearby marina, got 10 gallons of diesel and weighed anchor to set off for downtown Jacksonville for Christmas.

It wasn't a particularly bad day for cruising, just not much sun. It wasn't too cold or windy.  We were just ahead of the rain for most of the day.  It finally caught up to us at the end of the day as we crept further up the St. Johns River in Jacksonville bucking a 4 knot current.

A wall of rain in front of us.  Where is Radar?

LOL  Down below where it's nice and dry! 
Radar:  "Dumb humans don't know to get out of the rain!"

  We ran out of daylight and cruised into the darkness trying to reach an anchorage Carter found on the chart. Dodging barges and container ships all the way up the St. John's, we finally  dropped anchor behind  Exchange Island about 10 pm. 

It was getting time for some re-provisioning so the Captain got out the digital satellite imagery (google maps)  to locate the nearest grocery store that we could get to by dingy.  Turns out it was just around the corner so the next morning we weighed anchor and went up Little Potsdam Creek and dropped anchor by the bridge. From there we could land the dinghy and hike 2 blocks  to a Publix, (where shopping is a pleasure).  Heading in we saw that the creek wasn't too nice to someone!

The bridge where we anchored and landed the dinghy made a nice picture.

With grocery shopping out of the way, we got up the next morning and set out for Jacksonville Landing where we read that could tie up to the dock for free for up to 3 days. Upon arrival we decided this was not the place to stay. Lots of chop banging us against the dock, a wicked current, and too many tourists.  .  

The St. Johns River has a lot of shipping activity.

They were off loading vehicles from this ship.

Tugs are everywhere and very busy here.

More high smog industry.

We decided to investigate a marina we passed by on the way to Jacksonville Landing, got the dockmasters phone number, made a call and voila, we are in a great marina for the next month. I was relieved that our situation is settled for the next few weeks.

You can see the Arc's solar panels on the left side of this picture and the stadium on the right side of the picture.  The Tennessee Volunteers will be playing in the bowl game against Ohio on January 2nd.   This will be a great location to explore downtown Jacksonville which is how we plan to spend Christmas day.

Merry Christmas!

Captain Carter and Diane

Saint Augustine to Fernandina Beach - Florida / George State Line

We departed Saint Augustine on the 18th and proceeded north on the ICW heading toward Fernandina Beach and the FL/GA state line.  It was a nice day, in other words, not too cold and/or windy.

The Fort at Saint Augustine

Saint Augustine is such a quaint old town.

The Atlantic Ocean at the Inlet

The scenery reminds us of the Florida panhandle and we guess it's because we are at equal latitudes.

Carter, Radar and I paddled over to the spoils island we anchored by this evening.  
Taking Radar for his daily shore leave is a big part of our day.

I didn't expect to see such a beautiful cactus on this little spoils island!

Picture postcard scenery!

A truly beautiful anchorage.

The Archimedes, The Spirit of Ellen Peterson and Radar.

"Ok, I'm ready to go back to the Arc now."

We continued on toward the FL/GA state line and arrived in Fernandina Beach just after sunset. We dropped anchor next to an interesting character.  It looked like the guy was trying to frame up an apartment on top of his boat with wood he found in a dumpster. But I guess it's working for him. 

I love the dog waiting faithfully for his master to return.  He and Radar had a few chats.

Another quaint harbor town.

A shrimp boat at low tide.  Don't know what this guy's story is but many sailors do this intentionally so they can scrape the bottom of the boat.  High tide rolls back in and the boat is floating again.  Carter saw a great place to beach the Arc and do the very same and we are discussing coming back here after the holidays to spruce up the freeboard paint a little before leaving the area..

This is definitely an industrial part of town.

This was some stinky, foul air for sure.

A fort on the Florida side of the state line.

Around this buoy and it's done.  The state line of Florida and Georgia. 

We toasted this achievement with hot coffee because is it was too early and way too cold for wine.  The weather was forecast to turn bad with a couple days of rain in site.  We turned around and headed back to find a nice hidey hole to hunker down in and wait it out.  We got about 8 miles or so south ducked into a little bayou right at sunset running on the battery at that point.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

St. Augustine - December 3rd - 17th

We departed the marina on Merritt Island late in the afternoon of Dec 3rd and positioned ourselves at the NASA Causeway in south Titusville to witness the Orion launch the next morning.  The wind kicked up and a valve got stuck to delay the launch for a day.  We weighed anchor and moved up river to another good spot in Titusville by Parrish Park.  Success!  The rocket launched right as the launch window opened early in the morning.

After the launch we began our trek northward to Saint Augustine.  We encountered stiff northerly winds and strong currents for the entire passage.  It reminded me of our slog across the panhandle two seasons ago.  Why are we heading north in December you might wonder?  This season will be the last leg of our goal to transit the entire Florida ICW on nothing but sunshine.  We'll cross the FL/GA state line, then turn around and head south to Stuart, turn right to cross the Okeechobee Waterway ending up in Fort Myers.  

We arrived and dropped anchor in south Saint Augustine on the 9th.  The next day we moved to the City Marina to meet up with Kim Ross for our scheduled press conference with ReThink Energy Florida.  

We wound up on the front page of the local paper:

and another article from an alternative internet news outlet:
(Carter calls this one "the music video")

 Next we finished putting up the Christmas lights on the Arc to participate in the Regatta of Lights on Saturday night.  It was a lot of fun and we even got a swag bag and a big awards dinner at the Yacht Club after the parade. .

The day after the boat parade, we walked over to West Marine to pick up some needed items and got to see some of the beautiful old architecture here in Saint Augustine.  I am looking forward to being a tourist and experiencing the tour of lights!  I am definitely ready for some Christmas spirit!   

Pictures just don't do this sight justice.  This is the park in Old Town with lights outlining all the trees and a colorful Christmas tree in the center.

We also walked all over the old town of Saint Augustine including the fort.

It was a fun couple of days!

We were departing St. Augustine on the 17th when we noticed the El Galeon had arrived in town! Too cool.  We just had to get a picture of the Archimedes with that ship.

Excerpt from a flyer:

"El Galeon is a replica of a ship that traveled the coasts of Florida between the 16th and 18th centuries - transporting soldiers, colonists, goods, culture and ideas, and creating a centuries old bond between America and Europe.  The galleon was a large armed vessel used in transoceanic trade.  The vessel evolved in response to Spain's need for an ocean-crossing cargo ship capable of fending off pirates.  Pedro Menendez,founder of St. Augustine, along with Alvaro de Bazan, is credited with developing the galleon prototype.  The galleon was the mainstay of the Spanish Treasure Fleets that brought Spain great wealth and world power from the New World.

El Galeon is a 170 foot, 495 ton authentic wooden replica of a Spanish galleon.  It is owned and operated by the Nao Victoria Foundation of Seville, Spain.  Twenty-eight crew members are tasked with maneuvering more than 9,600 square feet of sail area in the same fashion as 16th century sailors.  Visitors on-board will explore the history and authentic interiors of a 16th century galleon while experiencing the detailed craftsmanship and grandeur of the vessel."

The Captain and I definitely want to take the tour of that ship on our way back down the east coast.

And a nice photograph of the end of our first day heading north toward Fernandina Beach.