Saturday, March 28, 2015

January 29/30 - Fernandina Beach - Tiger Island

On our way to the Florida/Georgia state line, (the first time), we spotted a perfect beach to strand the Arc on at high tide to do some painting and bottom maintenance.  We arrived before sunset and anchored out until the tide was just right. The Captain was up quite a bit of the night getting the boat in position so we would be left standing on the twin keels in just the right spot when the tide rolled out.  The next morning at low tide, we set to work immediately to take advantage of every bit of the 3-4 hours we had until the tide rolled back in.  It was quite a sight to see!


Carter is painting the last section of the starboard rubrail with the tide lapping
                                   at his feet. We still had another 1/2 hour on the port side.

We sanded, wiped down with acetone, and painted the freeboard all in one session.
Looks so good!

Day 2 - Second coat of paint

The Captain decided that he wanted to move the boat up the beach by a couple of  boat lengths to be on a little harder ground the next day so that afternoon/evening he maneuvered the boat into the new position. But somewhere in the process the dinghy got loose and  decided to drift off on it's own shortly after we got settled on the bottom!  Carter noticed it immediately and since the Arc was hard aground and wasn't moving, Carter jumped into his wet suit and onto the surfboard to rescue our wayward dinghy before it got caught up in the main current.  Since we were right beside the inlet at the FL/GA state line, it was heading out to sea.  But due to quick action, this catastrophe was diverted.

On to the task of the second coat of paint

Good view of the twin keels.

Good time to inspect the zincs, rudder, prop and scrape off a few barnacles.
  All is well under the waterline.

The work was done so we explored Tiger Island while we waited for our departure time.

We departed Tiger Island on the 4:00 pm high tide cruising down to Amelia Island where we enjoyed a nice dinner out at the Amelia Island Yacht Club.  The next morning we weighed anchor and cruised out with the early morning tide (7:05 am) heading south toward St. Augustine.  

We cruised a total of 30 miles this day and arrived at Jacksonville Beach at sunset.  Along this stretch is where we had an experience we have never had before.   We were attempting to cross under the McCormic bridge heading into a pretty strong current. We were working our way through nicely, moving slowly but surely in the strong current but when we were almost out the other side we came to an abrupt stop. We were at full throttle and weren't moving an inch. This in itself was particularly unusual, we were just in a current that was moving faster than we could go, but what happened next was the strange part. As Carter eased off the throttle to back out of the bridge channel we came to a complete stop in the middle of the bridge. The motor was off and we weren't moving backwards any more.  We were caught in some kind of vortex!  Carter had to put the Arc in reverse to back out, even thought the current was rushing past us. It was bizaar!  into reverse and we backed our way out from under the bridge.  The whole episode was a bit nerve racking so we found a place to drop the anchor and called it a day.

January - Northeast Florida

January and February were very busy months for me (Diane) and I initiate the blog posts.  More volunteer work, health matters and !grandbabies! have had my attention but I plan to get this blog up to date!

December/January - The Archimedes remained at Birkman Plaza Marina in downtown Jacksonville for a month while we were in and out taking care of personal business and holiday visits.  It was a nice marina with good security fence on the dock and a nice fenced dog walk area for Radar. But that was about it, as they had no other amenities at all, ie: showers and laundry.  We did spend a great deal of the time while we were there walking and exploring old downtown Jacksonville.

The University of Tennessee Volunteers were playing in the TaxSlayer Bowl while we were there.  My son along with a few other family members came to town for the game and visited for an evening.

We departed Jacksonville January 25th heading for the ICW on solar power, riding the out-going current.  Our first stop was within site of Cable Stay Bridge between Reddie Point and Williams Island putting us in good position to head north, back to Amelia Island to pick up our solar passage where we left off when we kicked in the diesel and booked it to Jacksonville in the rain back before Christmas.

January 26th - It was a cold and windy day (16-20 mph).  We waited for the current to turn in our favor and we departed on solar power at 3:10 pm heading toward Mayport and beyond.

The St. Johns River is a very busy commercial highway.

The next day we got a little earlier start and had a good run. All the planets and the moon aligned for a record setting pace down the St. Johns river where we were running up to 8 mph on solar propulsion.  That's what happens when the sun, wind and current are all going our way!  


We dropped anchor at sunset at a place called Great Marsh Island.

We continued northward the next morning around noon.  It turned out to be a very windy day with us trying to move into the current.  It was also seriously cloudy making it hard to keep up any kind of decent speed so we dropped anchor at 4:30 pm in Walker Creek off the South Amelia River.  It looked like a nice spot off to the side of the ICW but you just never know....

This is the Arc when we dropped anchor and went to bed.  

Now here is what we looked like in the morning! Although we had both a forward and stern hook set in anticipation of the tidal swing, we dragged our stern hook and the wind blew us up onto the bank at high tide.

We were just stuck on the bank with a little incline when we woke up
but this is how we looked at low tide.

A view looking down from the bow...where's the water?  LOL

Obviously, we spent the morning waiting for the tide to come back and float the to speak.  We weighed anchor at 1:00 pm and headed on up the ICW.  We had a good day, arriving at Fernandina Beach at 5:30 pm and put ourselves in good position to beach the Arc as planned for the task of painting the freeboard.  With the sides of the Arc looking pretty battle weary after two seasons of cruising, we couldn't resist the opportunity to take advantage of such a good beach for this job. A 5' tidal change gave us several high and dry hours to prep and paint.