FL to CT Day 11
Jacksonville, FL to Fernandina Beach, FL
We departed from Jacksonville at approximately 0900 and continued north on the ICW to our destination for the day… Fernandina Beach, FL.
Shortly after departing we were hailed by a fellow MTOA boat… “Sea Flat” with Robert and Jane DeBois aboard… who were also headed to Fernandina Beach and the MTOA Southern Rendezvous. We chatted briefly and was then hailed by “Serendipity” with Norm Briggs and Peter Behr aboard… we had left New Smyrna Beach the same day they had… slightly behind them but had almost caught up to them… they too were heading to the MTOA Rendezvous in Fernandina Beach.
We had a yo-yo of current today… initially pushing us 8 knots plus and slowing us to 5.7 knots in places. However, the weather was nice… sunny and the winds had diminished… a very nice day and also a very short one. We had to travel a real short distance going only 20 nautical miles.
We arrived to the Fernandina Beach Harbor Marina at approximately 1145… “Serendipity” was just ahead us and we had to hold off till they were securely docked and then we pulled into the marina directly behind them on the far southern end of the face dock. This will make for some long walks to shore.
Our location... N30°40.164’, W081°28.028’. We traveled for 3 hours covering 19.4 nm averaging 6.5 knots.
We will spend the next week here in Fernandina Beach for the MTOA Southern Rendezvous. We plan to depart and continue our trek north on April 21st.
Posted at 2:19 PM
FL to CT Day 10
St. Augustine, FL to Jacksonville, FL
Had a very windy night on the mooring ball in St. Augustine… SE winds steady over 20 knots with gusts to 30 knots… made the dinghy ride to shore for Beecha a bit wet. The mooring ball held strong all night… it did calm down a bit a few times in the early hours of the morning but for the most part was really whipping up… 2 foot waves in the mooring field.
We had hoped to get to Fernandina today but calling them yesterday we were informed that they were full up and no space for us until Sunday when we had reservations… maybe Saturday but unlikely… they did not even have a mooring ball available. With the winds like they were last night and same forecast for tonight we did not want to be on the hook. We decided to try a new location… the Jacksonville City Docks on Sisters Creek… publications state they are FREE for 72 hours… so, we can hang out here until Sunday morning and then shoot up to Fernandina Beach… only takes a couple hours to get there from here… maybe 3 hours at most depending on current.
We left St. Augustine at approximately 0930… this was about 45 minutes before high tide… we did have current against for a few minutes as we approached the inlet but once we made the turn to port heading north up the ICW we got an instant boost of speed… well not instant… nothing is instant with “Sails”. Soon we were going over 8 knots and several times during the day we hit over 9 knots… 9.5 was the fastest I noticed… but we were never under 7 knots unless slowing down intentionally for small boats or no wake zones.
Very little boat traffic today… couple of small fishing boats and one sport fish passed us… other than that we were alone.
We finally lost our boost from the current when we reached the St. Johns River… then we had the current on our bow against us… but we only had just over a mile to go before we would be stopping for the day at the Jacksonville City Docks.
We passed under the Sisters Creek Bridge and another 1/8 of mile and we turned to port to find the docks… very very nice concrete floating docks right located right on a park. We will mark this spot down for future trips.
Our location for the evening…. N30°23.893’, W081°27.504’. We traveled for 4.5 hours covering 34.1 nm averaging 7.6 knots.
Posted at 2:34 PM
FL to CT Day 9
New Smyrna Beach, FL to St. Augustine, FL
and swim... she absolutely loves the sand bar inside the inlet.... we must of spent 45 minutes walking on the beach... awesome!
After returning to the boat we cleaned up and headed out to Peter and Charlotte Behr's home to join them for dinner. Just as we left the boat in the dinghy Susan sees a couple of boats heading in to Rockhouse Creek... she says to me there is a trawler and sailboat coming in to anchor... I turn to look and I see a Mainship trawler approaching and I recognize it... it was "Turtle Trot" Arlene and Chuck Custer... fellow MTOA members and great friends... we head over on the dinghy to greet them... it was a real surprise to see them as we had no idea they were going to the MTOA rendezvous. Anyway, we said our quick hellos and we would see them in the morning... off we went to the Behr's.
We arrived to the Peter and Charlotte's home and Peter was out on the dock waiting for us and directing us where to tie up the dinghy. We spent the evening with them... had a few drinks, a lovely dinner. A true joy to visit them... we really enjoyed the evening.
We got back to "Sails" after 2200 and pretty much went right to bed... early morning planned.
We awoke about 0700 and found the majority of the boats that had joined us in the anchorage had already left... We saw Peter and Norm pass by on "Serendipity"... they told us later that they had sounded the horn as they passed but we did not hear it... anyway, by 0730 the only boats left in the anchorage were us and one sailboat that we have been crossing paths with for several days... "Isa Lei"... a beautiful ketch.
I took Beecha to land for a quick morning walk... returned to "Sails"... lifted the dinghy back to the top of the boat and pulled the anchor. We were underway by 0800 heading north on the ICW. We had a wonderful current on the stern pushing us over 7 knots almost immediately... and we never lost the boost all day... at times we were doing over 9 knots... it was awesome!
Today was the MTOA parade of boats... there must of been six to eight MTOA boats moving north all well within VHF range... I won't try to name them all because I am sure I would miss one... and besides the MTOA boats there were quite a few other boats also heading north... always nice to see the other boat traffic.
We did see one out of the ordinary thing today... just north of Daytona Beach there is a large grey tug docked behind one of the homes on the ICW... well I say docked but I think it actually sits on the bottom there... anyway, as we passed there was a woman on the back deck and she was giving a bath to what I thought was a dog.... then a took a second look... it was a miniature horse... totally not expected.
We passed through quite a few bridges today... lowered our antennas and mast and were able to clear all of them... although we were very close on one of them... the Memorial Bridge in Daytona... we need 21 feet with everything down... the bridge sign boards indicated just over 17 feet plus an additional 4 feet at the center of the span... we cleared by a couple of inches.
We had plans to stop in Palm Coast, FL as they were having a pre-MTOA rendezvous of sorts for all the boats heading to the rendezvous in Fernandina Beach. WE opted to not stop and continue on to St. Augustine... we called and reserved a mooring ball from the St. Augustine Municipal Marina. The weather forecast was not the best over the next few days and we figured we needed to get to Fernandina Beach sooner and beat the bad weather.
As we approached St. Augustine I could see another trawler ahead of us... looked like "Serendipity" that Peter Behr was aboard... but I could not see how it was possible... they had at least 45 minutes lead on us... no ay we could of caught up to them... but sure enough it was them... Peter hailed us on the VHF and asked we caught up... told him we had a tremendous speed boost hitting over 9 knots... they were continuing on to Pine Island to anchor.
We pulled in to the St. Augustine Mooring field 1545... hailed the marina to get our mooring ball assignment and were secure on mooring ball M5 at 1600. The winds had really picked up and were gusting over 25 knots as we moored "Sails".
Our location for the evening…. N29°53.345’, W081°18.442’. We traveled for 8 hours covering 56 nm averaging 7 knots.
Posted at 7:38 PM