On to Florida #42

Monday, May 27

It was a casual departure from Morningstar Marina near Brunswick, Georgia. We had to wait for the fuel docks to open before we could leave. We took showers, refueled, bought ice and left at 8:30 a.m.

We headed out into the Atlantic Ocean headed for Florida. We put up the mainsail but the winds were not in our favor to sail without the assistance of the motors. For the next 30 hours we would be motor sailing our way out of Georgia and down the east coast of Florida.

Franci took the helm on the way out to the ocean, but would soon realize that she was still not yet totally recovered from her injuries Friday evening.

Breakfast was ham and eggs. Yum.

Stephen put out his trolling line and was happy to be back in the ocean where the possibility of catching a Mahi Mahi or tuna existed. When the trip began the ocean waters were almost glassy. Later in the day the winds picked up and the seas became choppy. We rocked and rolled our way through the night and into the next day.

Capt. Ralph, Arlene and Stephen took turns doing three hour watches. Franci was still recuperating from her fall and tended only to her own needs. Pain management was the name of the game for Franci and she found a couple of places where she could sit comfortably. During daylight hours she found comfort reading her book on her bed. In the nighttime hours she found a seat on the padded cooler forward of the binnacle where she could sit comfortably. Crew members were very kind and thoughtful in helping her with any needs.

Stephen liked to be off shore. When he wasn't on watch or napping he liked messing with the trolling rod and even going out on the deck to make videos. He also found time to do some computer work with the photos and videos. He seemed to enjoy opportunities to connect himself to the jackline and venture about the outer areas of the boat. A jackline is a rope that extends from the bow to the stern of the boat. When one is on the ocean where the boat is bouncing around it's important to always wear a life vest which comes with a harness that shackles to the jackline such that in the event one falls overboard one is still connected to the boat. Of course, the idea is to not fall overboard at all, but it's good to take precautionary measures.

Monday evening Arlene went downstairs to prepare pork chops for dinner. She discovered that we were out of propane and we had sandwiches instead. Oops. There would be no coffee for the night shift and no more hot meals until we could refill the tank.

Although Fort Pierce had been our original destination we made the decision to go ashore and spend the night at Cape Canaveral to give Franci's injury a break from the choppy seas and get a propane refill. She was still having plenty of pain from her Friday fall, now suspecting a fractured rib. Although the x-rays showed no broken bones, the doctor had told her that there was still the possibility of a small fracture in one of the ribs and that she would know in a few days. The continuous pain told her this was perhaps possible.

The excitement of the trip came Tuesday afternoon just before we arrived in Cape Canaveral. Stephen caught a mahi mahi. It produced 2 1/2 pounds of beautiful filets. There's a fresh fish dinner in our near future. Yea. Congratulations to Stephen. Perseverance counts.

We arrived in Cape Canaveral at 5 p.m., just in time to refuel at the Cape Marina fuel dock which was closing as we arrived. We checked in for the night. Ralph and Arlene hosed down the boat which had gotten a pretty good salt water wash during the trek through the ocean while Stephen and Franci took a cab to a nearby Ace Hardware where we were able to refill the propane tank.

Franci was probably the happiest to be ashore and that evening found herself and others smiling at happy hour. We took a cab to Grill's, a local restaurant, for another great feast.

The next morning we would be leaving by 6 a.m, headed down the ICW to Fort Pierce, Floridq.

Life is good.

Fair wind

Franci and Stephen

 

Through Georgia Swamps #41

Sunday, May 26

As usual we left at dawn. This dawn had an unusual bright red glow to it. It was stunning.

The waters were full of floating stuff everywhere, a mixture of grass and sticks from the surrounding swamps. We had to check and clean the engine propellers often.

The South is still very much alive in Georgia.

Franci took a turn at the helm early in the day but soon realized she still had a ways to go before achieving full recovery from her tumble. For her the majority of the day would be spent napping or reading.

There were few houses to be seen along the ICW although the ones we did see were very nice. By late morning we would see no houses at all. Everywhere was swamp land. As the day progressed, so did the number of bugs. We began to imagine that after dark there would be lots of bugs.

 

Late morning Stephen took a turn at the helm. He had to dodge lots of the floating muck in the water. During that time we saw a number of other boats, including lots of folks out enjoying the Memorial Day weekend, This one particular beach was extremely popular.

For lunch Ralph and Arlene peeled all the shrimp Stephen had bought the night before at the seafood restaurant in Thunderbolt. It was served with their homemade sauce and made an extremely gourmet meal.

As the afternoon progressed the swamps became more deserted and very shallow. At one point it was only 4.5 feet deep with mud banks on either side. It was low tide. We hit a stump but the prop was okay.

We saw folks heading in after a day of Memorial Day weekend fun.

We're pleased to have a dock space at Morning Star Golden Isle Marina near Brunswick, GA.

Dinner tonight at the restaurant here by the marina.

Life is good.

Fair winds,

Franci and Stephen

 

A Day of Sailing # 40

Friday, May 24

There was much excitement in the air that morning. The winds were coming from the north and we were heading out into the Atlantic to do some sailing.

We reached the ocean about noon and by 12:50 we had the sails up and the engines shut down. We were going about 5 knots. Capt. Ralph put garbage bags over the engines to protect them from the splashing water.

We decided to put up the screecher (the big light air genoa like headsail) to see if we could go even faster. We steered a heading towards Charleston, NC and were making 8 knots.

Arlene made tuna sandwiches for us.

At 1:25 we were in a close reach and we adjusted the screecher. We were right on course going 6 knots.

Winds were 12.5 knots with 17 knots apparent wind.

Stephen put out his trolling line in anticipation of catching the big one. We started going 8 knots.

 

At 1:40 the winds picked up and we took the. screecher down. We learned that the trick to taking down the screecher is to go until a broad reach, After its down we went back to our course, a close haul at this point.

At 1:50 we found ourselves right on course going 7 knots. This would change to a beam reach by 2:00 going right on course to Charleston at 7 knots. This would continue for the remainder of the day.

After a wonderful tuna fish sandwich lunch Franci and Arlene went down for naps so as to be rested when it came time for their watch. The naps were interrupted by lots of commotion when Stephen caught a fish. It turned out to be a black skipjack, not so good for eating but okay for baitfish. Stephen cut a few pieces off hoping to use it to lure the Mahi Mahi or tuna.
 

Arlene came on watch around 3 o'clock. Ralph went down for a nap. About 5:30 there was action on Stephen's line. Sure enough, it was the big one. He gave it a real good fight but, alas, the fish got away.

At 6 o'clock Franci took the helm. We were still making 7 knots and we were beginning to see the traffic going in and out of the busy Charleston harbor. We were glad to be on the other side before sunset. Stephen took the helm at 7:30 a.m.

It was shortly after this that things began to go wrong, Close to sunset Franci decided to take a photo of the sun going down across the ocean. She forgot the first rule of sailing on the ocean, “one hand for the boat and one hand for yourself”. The moment she put both hands on the camera, she went airborne. She was thrown from one side of the cockpit to other in mere moments and landed very hard against the garbage can which Ralph had installed on the left side of the companionway opening. Fortunately it stopped her from catapulting through the companionway opening into the galley below. That could have been really bad. As it was she was bruised and hurting. Shortly thereafter she had to excuse herself and go below for some rest,

Soon after that we had trouble with the auto pilot and went back on manual steering again. Nonetheless the sailing went on through the night. We were able to get the auto going again the following day. The moon was huge and it was a beautiful night to be sailing.

Unfortunately, Franci was not getting any rest down below because the pain from her tumble would not stop. At 4 a.m, she announced that she wanted to go to the emergency room to confirm that she was only bruised and that nothing was broken, Ralph and Stephen turned the boat to the right and took off for Georgia. Six and a half hours later we arrived in Thunderbolt, Georgia.

Stephen and Franci went to Memorial Hospital in the Savannah area. We report the nicest emergency care we've ever experienced, The staff was friendly, sympathetic and helpful. X-rays were taken and we were relieved to know that it was indeed only bruises, Pain medication was administered and prescribed and the day got better immediately,

Ralph and Alene, after a well deserved nap, started work on repairing the auto pilot. All of us were able to take showers and do laundry as well as pick up a few items at the store. We had a fun dinner at a local restaurant named Tubby's, one if our favorite activities, and enjoyed a restful night's sleep. Imagine our surprise when the folks at Tubby's poured Ralph and Stephen's wine in “to go” cups after the cab showed up sooner than expected. Stephen even found a great seafood restaurant and bought us boiled shrimp we would eat the next day on our journey across Georgia.

It was decided to go back into the canal again for a day or two giving Franci a little time to recover. Hopefully, we'll be back in the ocean sailing again in a few days. Our next big destination is Fort Pierce, FL where we will meet up with the parts to fix the leaky potty.

Life is good.

Fair winds,

Franci and Stephen