Once again we were met by the FWC shortly after our arrival.
These guys had a duly deputized Sea Dog for Radar to go nuts over!
Because our dock is Grande Central Station on the weekend, we decided to get away from the boat parade and go check out Shell Point. There was a big regatta that weekend and it sounded like an interesting place.
We've learned many times that there are discrepancies between our chart plotter and the reality of the open water. Carter discovered early upon our arrival at Shell Point.that several of the channel markers were not in the exact places marked on the chart plotter which generally is not a big problem in the daylight. We also learned Google maps was not so much up to date either. We started out running aground in a mud hole just outside the channel, but no problem, set the hook, wait for the tide to come in later, and head out in the morning. The tide was going to refloat us at about 2 am so Carter set the alarm clock just to get up and check things out with the intention of finding everything OK and going back to bed until sunrise when would move the boat after breakfast. We went to bed with calm sea and winds only to wake up in a tempest at 2 am. All hands on deck, we were refloated, had broken the lunch hook and were drifting uncontrollably to who knows where at 2 mph. Carter fired up Big Ben and headed us into the wind miraculously without hitting any more ground as we got the situation under control by getting into the channel.
As we headed around the point to go to the lee side for a quieter anchorage, there was a sailboat anchored in the middle of the channel with no anchor light. We ran aground on a sandbar trying to get around him. Carter took our anchor in the dingy with 20 mph winds beating us onto the beach and rowed it out right next to the guy in the channel. We successfully skegged off and barely missed smashing into him as we retrieved our anchor. I shined the 1,000,000 candle power light into his window as we circled around this oblivious twit and got him out of bed just for spite since he had slept thru the entire near collision. I mean we came so close we could have shaken hands.
(I took this picture the following afternoon. You can see the sailboat is clearly in the middle of the channel. The boat on the left is just outside of the channel and that is where we ran aground in the middle of the night.)
Now we were headed into some unknown waters on the other side of the point where additional conflicts in our chart data resulted in a third grounding, on an oyster bar this time. Same 20 mph winds and choppy seas, but add a 2 mph current whipping by this time. Carter rowed the dink out again, dropped the anchor and barely could get back to the boat with the strong current and wind. We skegged off a second time, but this time, after we were off, there was a terrible rattle coming from the engine. Carter was convinced we had bent or broken the prop but we were making way out of the oyster bars and headed back to the familiar beach at Shell Point. We dropped the hook at sunrise, just outside the channel and went to bed. We decided we would deal with it later.
Not a very happy camper, I snapped this picture just before falling into bed, exhausted. Folks, never anchor in the middle of the channel (unless it's an emergency of course ) especially without an anchor light! This could have been a terrible disaster for that fiberglass sailboat, not to mention scratching the paint on the Arc!
We had a good lunch with Kim Ross and her husband Brian when we met up with them about noon.
Later that day, Carter went under the boat and couldn't find any problems. Upon closer inspection in the engine room he found some bolts on the diesel driveline had come loose, just by coincidence right when we were getting off the last grounding. It ran fine after tightening everything up so we headed back to St. Marks where we anchored behind the lighthouse.
Later that week, Kim said the local yacht club was asking if we could give a presentation about the Arc at their monthly meeting. No problem, back to Shell Point, this time in a car!
A big Thank You! to the Apalachee Bay Yacht Club for letting us come out and talk about the Archimedes and for sharing a great potluck dinner!