CT to FL Day 25
Palm Coast, FL to New Smyrna Beach, FL
Yesterday we had a very interesting evening in Palm Coast to say the least... plans were to ride on Barbara and Barry Kipnis' boat in the lighted boat parade. We arrived on time and headed over to the Kipnis' house with Phil Lowe at 1630. There were about 15 of us going on the boat. Shortly after arriving the parade was cancelled due to weather. No problem... party at Kipnis' house. We had snacks and a great lasagna dinner and then Barbara suggested we go for a boat ride... their boat was decorated and ready to go...weather looked good outside... 15 minutes later we were underway music blaring and lights so bright Barry was having a hard time seeing to drive the boat... we were having fun!
Thirty minutes or so into the trip it started raining and first one side of the Christmas lights went out and then the other side and the music stopped... raining and GFI outlets do not mix... still raining lightly so Barry headed back to home dock.
Arriving to the dock everyone's weather alerts on their phones started going off... TORNADO ALERT for the area... we quickly unloaded the boat and party was over... the sky opened up and it was pouring raining now. we headed back to "SAILS" with a lift from Jon and Mary Slattery.
shortly after getting back to "SAILS" we found out that several homes right in the area where we were on the Kipnis's boat were damaged by a tornado... the home of some good friends was missing it's lanai screen enclosure. No one was hurt... just property damage but none the less very scary! Overall, in spite of the weather and tornado we did have a good time... always great getting to see friends.
Plans for today were to cruise to New Smyrna Beach where we would get to see some more very good friends... Peter and Charlotte Behr and of course Beecha was very excited that she would get to see Chester the Behr's cat.
Not having a long day I took the extra time in the morning and did some maintenance on "SAILS"... changed the oil on both engines before we left. They were not quite due for the change but we were at a dock with power and it is much easier to perform engine room maintenance with 110 volt lighting opposed to 12 volt lighting. Maintenance completed we departed at 1000 and headed out of the Palm Coast canals to the ICW.
I had not really checked the current/tide to see what we would have but was pleasantly surprised to find we had a nice boost in speed from the current when we turned into the ICW heading south. We carried this boost in speed all the way to New Smyrna Beach.... 7 to 9 knots all day... awesome!
We arrived to our destination for the night at approximately 1515 at N29°01.535', W08°055.152'. We were docked at the free city docks. We traveled today for 5.25 hours covering 39.6 nautical miles averaging 7.5 knots.
Shortly after docking I was completing my logs and I heard someone outside on the dock knocking on the hull and saying "hello... SAILS"... I went out to the side deck and who did I see but Elaine Bartholomew looking up at me. A total surprise to see her... she said she was driving across the bridge and saw us docked and came to say hello... we invited her in and chatted catching up on what her and Bill (her husband) had been up to since we last saw them... it had been several years. They had sold their boat and now had a motor home and were "land cruising"... all over the US... even Alaska. Seeing her was a great surprise. did not get to see Bill but did talk with him on the phone briefly. Seems like every time we see them it is just like it was this time... totally unexpected.
1700 arrived and another knock on the hull... this one was expected... Peter Behr had arrived to pick us up for dinner at their home. We soon arrived and was greeted by Charlotte Behr. Beecha was pulling at her leash... "Where's Chester?"... we searched for Chester but he was no where to be found. We returned to the kitchen and Peter prepared cocktails for us. As the four of us and Beecha stood in the kitchen Chester appeared and was strolling toward the kitchen totally unaware Beecha was just around the corner. but it was not long before their eyes met... Beecha with her tail wagging so happy to see Chester... and Chester not so happy... his back arched and fur raised... you could see his dismay... "what is this white dog doing in my house?"... Chester and Beecha spent the evening staring at each other... Beecha wanting so badly to be friends and Chester very curious but not ready to be chums yet... some day maybe.
We spent the evening catching up with Peter and Charlotte... an awesome dinner and wonderful evening as always. Thank you Peter and Charlotte!
Posted at 11:00 PM
CT to FL Day 24
Jacksonville, FL to Palm Coast, FL
We got away before sunrise this morning at 0645 and headed south down the ICW. As we left the dock I hailed the Sisters Creek Bridge for an opening. The bridge was less than an 1/8 of a mile away. the bridge tender was very prompt and we did not have to wait at all for the opening.
Bridges we encountered the rest of the day were not an issue as we could pass under them without an opening... McCormick Bridge and the Bridge of Lions at St. Augustine.
First half of the day we had current boosting us up to over 9 knots at times.... second half or I should say from St. Augustine Inlet we had current against us... slowing us to under 5 knots at times.
We seemed to have lost our group of boats we had traveled with the last few days... they did not seem to be leaving as early as we were and stopping at about the same time of the day as we were so we have crept ahead of them. I did hear them on the radio a few times and actually talked with "Dorcas Ann" once. But her home port is Marine Land just north of Palm Coast so we will not see or talk to them again this trip.
Our destination for today was Palm Coast, FL. Palm Coast is one of favorite stops along the trip south or north. We have so many MTOA friends here that it makes it hard to just stop for one night. Luck was with us this trip as tonight is the Palm Coast Lighted Boat Parade. We are going to ride in the parade... not on "SAILS" but on one of our friends boat "IFFIN"... Barbara and Barry Kipnis. Should be a lot of fun.
We arrived to Palm Coast and were securely docked at 1515 across from Phil and Sarah Lowe's home and boat (red American Tug) at N29°35.194', W081°12.325'. We traveled today for 8.5 hours covering 55.2 nautical miles averaging 6.5 knots.
Posted at 3:56 PM
CT to FL Day 23
Jekyll Island, GA to Jacksonville, FL
We departed from Jekyll Island this morning at 0650. Our destination for today was Jacksonville, FL.
First obstacle for the day was St. Andrews Sound... crossing in high winds can make the crossing very nasty. Today was not that bad.... NE 15 -20 knot winds were producing 3-5 seas in the Atlantic but the breakers off the sound cut these back some... we saw 2-3 waves on the most easterly leg of the crossing. It did however pickup as we proceeded down the ICW along Cumberland Island with wave on our stern at 3-4 feet.
It was an ebb tide so we fought current quite a bit today and also dealt with a lot of shallow water... just past Fernandina Beach was tricky and several others places along the way. We overheard several boat hailing TowBoatUS that had gone aground.
Best part of the entire day was we arrived to FLORIDA! Still 8 days or so before we reach our final destination Punta Gorda, FL... but it's just nice to be back in the Sunshine State... and it was sunny all day!
We arrived to Jacksonville, FL at 1350 and docked the free docks at Sisters Creek located at N30°23.890', W081°27.502'. We traveled for 7 hours covering 46.7 nautical miles averaging 6.7 knots.
Posted at 2:20 PM