Friday, July 31, 2009

Northern Norfolk/Little Creek

We were hoping to leave tonight to do our 48 hour trip, but the favourable weather window has shifted by one day, and is supposed to begin on Saturday. Tonight there is another 'small craft advisory' in effect. Well, we all know what that means!! So, we are staying put for another day.

Today was interesting. Andy had a long list of tasks to accomplish, as is his way, so he worked away at things all day. One of his tasks was to clean the bottom of the boat. He borrowed tanks and equipment from a gentleman on a neighbouring boat. Unfortunately no one told us that the Chesapeake is full of jelly fish!! On his first dive he got a sting on his side. It hurt a lot, but he was able to shake it off, as Andy does so well. He finished cleaning the boat, and found that the prop needed a washer and pin. We all took a nice walk the few blocks to the shopping mall in search of the parts and some charts.

The shopping trip was mostly unsuccessful as the local West Marine was understocked on all of the above. We did manage, however, to find replacement batteries for my electronic Sea Band, which I'm sure I'll probably need on our 48 hour voyage!

We grabbed lunch while we were out, where Henry enjoyed a taste of McDonald's soft serve ice cream. That may be what prevented him from falling asleep when his next nap time rolled around!

Andy managed to get the prop parts at a small shop next to the marina, and dove again on the boat. Well, the first jelly fish must have called in his big brother, because this time Andy got stung all the way up his back and around his shoulder! Ouch!!

After a little doctoring he returned to his tasks and managed to reinstall our freshly rebuilt injectors and replace the cable to our radio! What a trooper. By the time I tried to take a picture of the nasty red marks they had all but disappeared!

Chesapeake Bay in a Small Craft Advisory...Yikes!

Today was not the best day on the water. We travelled from just south of Norfolk up to Little Creek, at the mouth of the Chesapeake next to the inlet to the Atlantic. It started out slow going. We passed through all of the military stuff at a snails pace, as we were stuck behind a freighter in a fairly narrow canal. But it certainly changed pace quickly!

We need to pick up charts for this area and north of here. Without a chart we were under the impression that we weren't going nearly as far as we were!!

There was a small craft advisory in effect today. We thought we were only going to be in a small, sheltered channel. Once we got out into the open water of the Chesapeake things got rough. I was feeling crappy, partly from sea sickness, partly from Henry being up half the night crying with teething pain (just cut fifth and sixth tooth, and I think he has four more budding!). The teething pain was also making Henry fussy, and hard to get down for his naps. So I was not having the best day to begin with.

Then the storm hit. Andy saw it coming and took down our sails. He was prepared well ahead of time with the port lights closed and such. It was a storm unlike any we have seen to date! The wind speed just kept increasing, with the worst gusts in the middle of the storm reaching 50 knots!!!!! I couldn't have imagined what 50 knots of wind felt like until we were in the middle of it. The boat was being heeled by the wind and the rain was pelting us with such ferocity it felt like it was going to pierce our skin!

Andy kept his head and handled the boat beautifully. I grabbed both dogs and with Henry wrapped tightly in my arms, sat low in the footwell of the cockpit and tried to keep the baby and the dogs calm. I guess I succeeded, Henry actually fell asleep! I think it was when I started singing, "Blue Skies shining on me..."

The storm passed quickly, as they all do down south. After about 20 minutes we were coming into port under blue skies with the lightning and blackness behind us.

We treated ourselves to a dock for the night at Cobb's Marina. We figured we all deserved a little R&R, and the air conditioning wouldn't hurt either! We plan to spend at least 24 hours at Cobb's Marina to wait for favourable weather. Once we get a good window, we hope to do a 48 hour run that will take us just short of New York! We're almost home!!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Dismal Swamp is Anything But!

We had a wonderful day today. We travelled up the 'Dismal Swamp' from Elizabeth City to just south of Norfolk, Virginia. The Dismal Swamp is a narrow canal through a very heavily forested area. There was not another boat to be seen and we passed a house or two every 5-10 miles. It was very serene. My kind of scenery!

As you can see in the picture, Henry has started helping Daddy with the lines!

We traversed our first lock today. It was uneventful, as the canal is really quiet this time of year, and we were the only boat in the lock.

It was the kind of day when you wish time would just slow down so that you can savour it a little longer. Good for the soul.

We arrived at a free dock just south of the second lock in the canal. There was a grocery store across the street, so we were able to pick up a few provisions without the usual problem of how to get there and back. It was also nice to enjoy an hour or so of air conditioning. It had turned into a very hot, humid, breezeless day.

The English couple, Ron and Julie, from Elizabeth City docked behind us. We got to know them a little better, and had them join us for Fajitas for dinner.

Henry had a difficult day, and an even worse night. Those top teeth are giving him a lot of trouble. He's also sticking his fingers in the back of his mouth, could he be working on a molar?!? I hope not, the poor kid has cut six teeth already!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Elizabeth City

The huge expanse of water called a 'river' on this trip was ridiculous! We were pretty much in the Atlantic with a tiny barrier for the wind. It was a wild sail across the large expanse of water from the Alligator River canal to Elizabeth City.

We arrived at the free dock in Elizabeth City around 3:00pm. The locals were even more welcoming than the 'Welcome' flags that waved all along the shoreline. One gentleman took our lines, another presented me with a rose, and all were incredibly friendly and seemed very happy to see us!

We were one of six boats. Two of the others were the ones anchored with us at Bear Point the previous night. We had read in the Skipper Bob book that if there were more than four boats we would be entertained with a wine and cheese reception. Unfortunately the people responsible for this bit of hospitality had passed away.

Andy, Henry and I ventured out in search of dinner, and found ourselves at a buffet a short walk from the shoreline. The food was mediocre, but it beats cooking!

On the way from Bear Point we had sprung a leak from the engine and water started pooling on the cabin floor, and so our aim while in Elizabeth City was to get a rebuild kit for the raw water pump and repair the engine. Andy made some calls and found that the nearest place to get a rebuild kit was in the next town 35 miles away! Ever resourceful, Andy made a sign that read 'Edenton 4 parts, cruising' and set out to hitchhike.

Andy was picked up and driven half way by one driver, and the second one who picked him up was a young man, down on his luck. Andy offered him gas money if he would drive him there and back. It worked out quite well for both parties, and Andy returned with two rebuild kits, one spare just in case.

While Andy was off on his adventures, Henry and I walked around the harbour front area shops. We got a few essentials at a discount store, bought Henry a couple of new books, and got the best raspberry danish I've ever tasted in my life!! The friendliness of the local Elizabeth City folk continued. We had quite an enjoyable day. Andy, not as much.

After a couple hours of hard work Andy had the engine back in tip-top shape and we were ready to go again for morning.

We chatted with the couples on the two other boats who had spent the night at Bear Point with us. They were both very nice, one from England and the other from Sweden. Very experienced cruisers. The Swedish couple had made the trip across the Atlantic twice! It's amazing the people that you meet.

Oriental to Bear Point

We got a late start from Oriental. We stayed on in the morning to go the their Farmer's Market, and to fuel up and fill our water tanks. We got off the dock at 10:00am.

The "rivers" down here are more like large lakes. We were able to put up full sails and motor-sail at 7.5-8 knots! I know you could probably run that fast, but it still feels pretty quick in a sailboat!

We really enjoyed the sailing, and by the time we reached our planned destination for the day we decided to push on and do the 20 miles of canal that would have started our following day. That would enable us to make our next stop in Elizabeth City. From the Skipper Bob book it sounded incredibly friendly, and we like free docks!

So we covered 78 miles and did our last few miles after dark. Anchoring in this incredibly remote area in the dark proved very interesting. I shone our light on the marks so that we could navigate to the right mark and find the anchorage. There were two boats already anchored here at Bear Point, so we sounded our way in and anchored right between them.

This was a very, very wild environment. No cell phone coverage...reminded me of Little Shark River! The dogs were out of luck for their evening walk. We couldn't dinghy ashore in the dark where the shoreline was mostly just trees.

In the morning we got a good look at where we sat in the anchorage...we were only about 30 feet from a whole row of tree stumps protruding from the water!! A bit of skill and a lot of luck kept us from running anything over in the dark!! Oh well, all's well that ends well.

Friday, July 24, 2009

On to Oriental

We've heard great things about a little town called Oriental, North Carolina, so being that it was a suitable distance of 47 miles we motored the ICW to Oriental.

We got a really early start as I woke this morning to the anchor alarm on the GPS! For the first time ever, our anchor dragged. We woke up too close for comfort to the only other boat in the anchorage. So, since we were up, and already moving! we headed out at 6:15am.

I really noticed again today that the terrain has really changed. It is much less tropical here, and is starting to look more like home. There are still dolphins in the ICW though, and we saw three of them playing today. One took an incredible leap in the air! It was quite a sight, but unfortunately we didn't catch it on camera.

A storm was rolling in just as we pulled up to the free dock in Oriental. We very desperately need to do laundry, and wouldn't you know it, there is no laundromat in this little town! We had a nice chat with one of the locals, who recommended the various sites to see, and told us that the grocery store is a mile away, but the locals will stop and pick up anyone they see walking with groceries.

Andy, being the resourceful guy that he is, went next door to the marina and asked about using their laundry facilities. They let us use their one washer and one dryer for the $1.75 per load without an extra fee. Our six or seven loads will take awhile, but at least we'll get it done, and we don't even need to dinghy ashore!

As I write this post, Henry, Buddy and Charlie are napping, Andy is off to the grocery store, and I'm waiting to put the third load in the washing machine. Life is good.

Bad Weather Keeps Us in the ICW

There is "weather" brewing over the Bahamas which is making for some pretty rough seas in the Atlantic. For this reason we decided against our plan to do 10 hours outside to Beaufort. Instead we motored the ICW from Wrightsville Beach to Swansboro.

We covered 55 miles, and had a very calm trip. Our course took us through a military zone around Camp Lejuene. That was interesting. We lost cell phone coverage, there were signs all along shore warning that you were NOT to come ashore, and we saw a huge helicopter doing practice take off and landing runs.

After a fairly long day we anchored in a fairly choppy little anchorage in Swansboro. There was a free dinghy dock, so Andy went ashore looking for beer and dinner. While he was off on his adventure a storm rolled in. I saw it coming and 'battened down the hatches', so we were fine on the boat. Unfortunately Andy got caught in the downpour! He ended up hitch-hiking to and from the store because it was a fair distance. He was very grateful to the nice young couple who gave him a ride back, drenched as he was.

We enjoyed the rest of a quiet evening on the boat and got to bed early.

A Quick Trip in the ICW

We are really picking up some momentum lately. Not wanting to lose steam we travelled again the day after our overnighter to Southport. This trip was in the ICW as the distance was shorter than going out in the Atlantic. We motor-sailed to Wrightsville Beach. The distance was really quite short, and we anchored before noon. That gave us the rest of the day to relax, walk the dogs, and then head ashore to find dinner and groceries.

Wrightsville Beach is a very touristy place. "The Loop" as the locals call it is a few streets near the anchorage that houses several restaurants, a few ice cream parlours, and some beach wear shops.

We ate at the sports bar, and were very disappointed to find that they allowed smoking in the restaurant. Once the table beside us lit up we headed outside to their little patio to eat in the fresh air. The food was not bad and the price was right. There was a little grocery store next to the sports bar. After picking up a few essentials we went for ice cream before making our way back to the boat. Henry has become a huge ice cream fan, and was eyeing up both of our cones to be sure he got his fair share!

Patrick and Bessie finally caught up with us here. They took 45 hours to do what we did in 28! I'm glad we didn't wait for them, but we were really glad to see them, we were starting to worry.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Overnight to Southport

We decided to take a different approach to our second overnight voyage. Since we had so much trouble at Henry's bedtime on the last trip, we decided to put him to bed and then head out.

I took a Dramamine and Henry, Buddy, Charlie and I went to bed in the aft cabin as Andy took us out to sea. We started our journey with our new friends Patrick and Bessie. Unfortunately Bessie was a little nervous and they turned back, only to change their minds and venture out again. By that time we had gained a lot of distance on them and being a faster boat we left them behind.

Andy motor-sailed through the night, taking half hour naps and getting up to check the horizon for hazards, storms, and other boats.

Andy doesn't see too many sunrises, so he captured this one on film. Very peaceful.

The rest of us slept until 7:00am. We got up, had breakfast with Andy, and then Andy went to sleep when Henry took his first nap around 8:30am. Henry and I were able to manage for the next six hours while Andy slept. It worked out really well.

We arrived safely in Southport around 8:00pm. Buddy and Charlie were looking pretty eagerly at the shoreline! I think they really needed a walk after 22 hours! We docked for the night at the marina. We felt quite elated that our journey was such a success!! With the dogs walked and pizza in our tummies we settled in for a well deserved good night's sleep.

I have noticed that as we head north the terrain is changing. It's quite obvious now that we are not in Florida anymore! The foliage is different, the shoreline is different, the architecture is different, and the water is colder! I am beginning to get very excited about getting home. It won't be long now, especially since we're becoming more seasoned sailors and are more and more willing and able to do these overnight trips out in the Atlantic. We're having a great time!

Monday, July 20, 2009


Here it is Monday, and we've been anchored in Charleston since Friday morning. After the overnighter we needed a few days to recover, and it has been nice to see another historic town.

We have met a few interesting fellow cruisers here in Charleston. The first was a single guy named Dan who is single handedly sailing his 35 foot boat north. He started in California, and cruised all the way down through the Panama Canal. From his stories I get the impression that he's quite the ladies man and picked up someone in every port. I guess this lifestyle has something for everybody... anyway...

Andy took the dogs to shore in our dinghy, and ran out of gas...putt...putt...sputter...sputter... and the current dragged him to our neighbouring boat where he enlisted the help of a really nice young couple named Patrick and Bessie. They gave him some gas and Patrick hopped aboard our dinghy with his little electric engine so Andy could come back to our boat for oil to add to the gas. The ice was broken, and we have seen a lot of Patrick and Bessie since then. They have come ashore with us several times, towed by our newly fueled motor, as their electric can barely beat the current. They joined us for dinner and drinks on Sassy II one night, and came ashore to explore downtown Charleston with us yesterday afternoon. Very nice couple, we're going to start the next leg of our journey together this evening.

The third boater we met here in Charleston was quite a character! We were down below and heard someone coming up to the boat. I stepped out into the cockpit with Henry and saw a man rowing madly against the current in his little wooden rowboat with mismatched paddles. He said, "Parlez vouz Francais?" His face fell when I said no, and he went on in very broken English to tell me that he saw our Canadian Flag and hoped to find French Canadians on board. Andy came above deck and his French being only slightly better than mine, managed to have an entertaining conversation with this gentleman in mixed English, French and charades! This wild haired frenchman was here from France, cruising with his Viatnamese wife and two children. He told us that his wife did not enjoy cruising. Very happy-go-lucky fellow. I'm sure we would have enjoyed more of his company were it not for the language barrier.

Charleston itself is a very nice town, at least from what we have seen of it. We took a free shuttle bus from the marina to downtown with Patrick and Bessie and spent the day walking many blocks in search of Happy Hour specials. We ended our expedition at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co, a touristy restaurant built around a Forrest Gump theme. After many pints of beer and a whole lot of walking in the sun, we were picked up again by the shuttle and made our way back to the boat for a quiet evening. The buildings in downtown Charleston are very old and quite grand.

Today we are having a quiet day in preparation for the next leg of the journey. We plan to head out tonight to go off shore from Charleston to Southport. We are going to start out after Henry goes to bed to avoid the trouble we had on the trip here. Charleston to Southport is about 160 miles in total off shore, and about 300 in the ICW so another overnighter seemed like the sensible way to go. Wish us luck!!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Our First Overnighter!

Well, we did it! We went out in the Atlantic, out of view of land and all other signs of civilization for over 25 hours! We made a jump from Fernandina Beach, Florida all the way to Charleston, South Carolina. That meant that we saved about 5 or 6 days of travel, and got to skip Georgia altogether!

Our trip had an interesting start. As we were heading out through the channel from Fernandina Beach we were approached by the Coast Guard in an armed boat! They advised us that they were on security detail for a nuclear submarine and we were to leave the channel and keep 1000 foot clearance. We followed their direction of course, but were still able to see the submarine and take pictures on the way by! Too cool!!

It was a beautiful day at sea, with very little wind, and 2-4 foot seas. We motor sailed quite comfortably. Once we got out far enough that we could hardly see land we were out of cell phone range. That's when it starts to feel very real for me. Bye, bye civilization, we're real sailors now!

The afternoon was lovely. I had a teeny bit of sea sickness, but as long as I stayed on deck and Andy tended to things below I felt pretty good. We had a pod of dolphins come alongside mid afternoon. That was like nothing I'd ever experienced before! Seven dolphins were playing all around our boat! They jumped and dived around the bow for a couple of hours!! It was incredible! Over the course of the trip two more pods of dolphins followed us, but not for quite as long as the first. Buddy and Charlie were fascinated! Charlie barked so much at them at one point that we feared he might jump right in after them! It was quite a sight!

Our trouble began when teething Henry was difficult to put to bed. I'm afraid I've started a bad trend with rocking and soothing Henry to sleep much too often. Now he is having trouble going to bed without it. This night was particularily bad, so I spent about 40 minutes in front of the V-berth trying to coax him to sleep and got extremely sea sick as a result. While I was in the cabin the wind and seas picked up quite a lot, and so I ended up bringing a still fussing Henry outside with me because I had begun to fear that he'd be thrown from one side of the v-berth to the other. At that point sea sickness got the better of me, and our poor cooler caught my lunch. Yuck!

Andy is such a sweetheart. Our plan had been to do shifts at the helm through the night of three hours on and three hours of sleep. Seeing the state that I was in he fed me Dramamine and sent me, Henry, Buddy and Charlie off to sleep in the aft cabin while he helmed the boat for the entire night. I felt much better after the Dramamine and slept off and on until morning. He set the alarm to wake him every 1/2 hour and slept in the cockpit.

Come morning I felt so much better. I was able to come back on deck and enjoy the rest of the journey. The seas were still rough, but not unbearable. We enjoyed some more marine life, as a huge sea turtle surfaced, then dove back into the depths. I had never seen a sea turtle in the wild. He was about 3 feet in diameter, and was only about 15 feet from the boat. It was amazing! We also saw schools of flying fish. They are quite magical to see.

After 25 hours at sea we pulled into Charleston at around 11:00am. We anchored in the anchorage across from their enormous marina, and enjoyed some much needed napping! Andy slept from 2:00pm until 7:00pm and felt like a new man.

All in all I think our first long voyage could be deemed a great success! My sea sickness is an ongoing battle, but I keep soldiering on and am sure it will get easier and easier. The time saved is immense, so I'm sure we will do a few more overnight trips before we get home. Time out at sea is also much more enjoyable than the ICW because it's easier to relax and leave the helm to live your life while you're out there. Being in the ICW feels more like driving a car. Someone has to be alert and at the helm at all times. There is so much traffic, and so many curves in the road! On this trip we had 20 hours between waypoints and no boats in sight! Talk about relaxing!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Adventures in Fernandina.

We planned to spend one night in Fernandina Beach. Unfortunately Andy came down with the same virus that had plagued Henry, with the same result. Andy was quite ill for four days.

I had four low key days, trying to keep Henry entertained as quietly as possible so Andy could sleep. We had a couple of adventures though.

One day I decided that I would attempt to gather the provisions we needed. Andy was drinking a lot of gingerale, and really needed some Imodium. Henry, after all of his sick days was running extremely low on diapers. One of the locals told me that there was a store named Fred's that carried the basics, and that it was just a short walk. So, I packed Henry into his life jacket, put him and his stroller into the dinghy, and off we went.

Fred's was a fairly short walk, about four blocks. Unfortunately they didn't have gingerale, Imodium, or diapers!! The clerk told me there was a Walmart that was a 1.6 mile walk. That didn't sound very far, so off we went.

Well, 1.6 miles isn't too far with proper shoes on a nice breezy autumn day at home. In flip-flops, with no sunscreen, no hat, and a baby in a stroller in Florida in July!!!! What was I thinking!!

When I finally arrived at the Walmart I was drenched in sweat and had already developed bright pink cheeks. Henry was a little cranky, but faired pretty well. I thought to put sunscreen on him, he had a hat, and rode in the shade of the stroller's sunshade. I have never been so happy to step into air conditioning! But boy, was I dreading the walk back!

I bought a cheap hat for me, a little towel to cover Henry and searched for sunscreen. Unfortunately with my allergy to the chemicals in most sunscreens I can't buy just anything, and Walmart nor the Winn-Dixie next door carried any non-chemical sunscreen. So, I bought our provisions, as much as I could load in and on the stroller, bought a dollar store umbrella to use as shade, and headed back.

Thankfully Henry fell drank his bottle and fell asleep. He slept all the way back.

Well, I must have been quite the sight! The cheap umbrella had caught in the wind and broken very early in the walk. Here I was with a little stroller over burdened with groceries, you couldn't see Henry under the towel I put on him for shade. I was dripping with sweat (not pretty), and had on a cheap ball hat, and was trying to carry a broken umbrella when it wasn't even raining. I have never felt more like a bag lady in all my life!! I'm sure the flip-flops just finished the picture.

I felt like I was never going to make it back! It was such a hot day, and the groceries on top of the stroller kept sliding off. At one point the umbrella blew out of my hands and I had to chase it across the road. What a day.

When I finally made it back to the dinghy a nice lady took pity on me and held Henry while I loaded up. I was so exhausted and thirsty when I got back to the boat! I kept saying to Andy, "I never should have gone that far, what was I thinking!" I hadn't taken any cash with me, just a credit card to pay for the groceries, so I couldn't even buy a snack. I couldn't have taken a taxi back anyway with no car seat for Henry. What a day.

Things started to look up as soon as Andy started to feel better. One of our fellow boaters offered to drive us around town to get everything we needed, so in one trip we were able to go to the grocery store, the Walmart, fill our propane tank and buy ice. If only I'd known that two days before....

Oh well. If you don't have bad days you don't appreciate the good ones as much.

Fernandina Beach was a lovely little village...if you don't need anything!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Day in the Atlantic

We finally got out of St. Augustine, and had our first long trip in the Northern Atlantic. We travelled from St. Augustine to Fernandina Beach. The trip was close to 70 miles in the ICW, and closer to 50 in the Atlantic, so out we went!

It started out as a calm day. The winds were 5-10 knots and the seas were rolling at about 2-4 feet. It was very peaceful out there, and we enjoyed it immensely. Unfortunately I had some seasickness to contend with. It wasn't too bad, and I was able to keep it to a minimum by spending most of my time on deck. Andy, ever thoughtful, set me up on deck with a cushion, a book and a sandwich. He also did all of the baby care along with the sailing.

Late in the afternoon my sea sickness started to get the better of me, so I went into the aft cabin for a nap. Shortly afterward the winds picked up to 20-25 knots and the seas grew to 6-8 feet with both a roll and a chop. I slept off and on, but woke up pretty queasy!! It was my first real test out there. I managed to hold down my lunch, so I guess I passed. :)

After 10 hours at sea we came into port at Fernandina Beach. We docked at the marina for the night and took a lovely stroll through the little historic village. It was much more to our liking than St. Augustine, just as old, but much less commercial and touristy. Very quaint. We could live here.

Stuck in St. Augustine

We ended up spending a lot longer than we wanted to in St. Augustine, for three reasons.

Henry came down with his first illness. We figure he must have picked up a virus in Cocoa, probably while he was enjoying his first swing in the park. Kids carry lots of germs!! He was quite sick for three and a half days! I was worried sick, but with lots of TLC and the advice of friends and family, thanks Julie and Linda!, we got through it. But of course we didn't want to travel while he was running a fever, in case we needed to see a doctor.

The second reason was insurmountable. We were on the south side of the Bridge of Lions, the outlet into the Atlantic was on the north side, and the bridge was closed for two days for construction.

The third reason came up after the first two were resolved...Andy lost his glasses, in the ocean we think. So after the bridge reopened we had to spend yet another day in St. Augustine for an eye exam and a new pair of glasses.

After Henry's health returned we did get to see some of downtown St. Augustine. It was full of historic buildings and little gift shops, but was a little too touristy for our tastes. It reminded us both of Niagara Falls. We did, however, have a great time at "Happy Hour" at a little pizza place that featured two for one drinks and a free slice of pizza!

We did manage to see a littl

Monday, July 6, 2009

Daytona to St. Augustine

We had a much better day today. No more mishaps. We got away around 9:00am and motored the ICW from Daytona to St. Augustine. The traffic in the ICW around Daytona on the 4th of July was a little much, but the wakes quieted down once we got further along into a more rural area. The scenery in this part of the ICW is a lot different than Fort Lauderdale! Much more untouched nature and much humbler houses.

We had a long day of travel, but it went quite well, so the time flew by. We arrived at the anchorage in St. Augustine around 6:00pm. We got anchored, Andy took the dogs ashore for a walk, we got Henry off to bed, and then settled into the cockpit to watch the Independence Day fireworks. There were plenty of private parties along the shoreline giving us a show before the main event. People lined the shoreline and the bridge by the hundreds.

The fireworks display was phenomenal! They really know how to put on a show! We were amazed that Henry slept through that much noise. We are hoping to see a bit of "historic St. Augustine" before we move on again.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

One of those days...

Some days you are not meant to get out of bed. From the time you do things go wrong. This was one of those days.

The bad luck started when Andy pulled the lines off of the free dock in New Smyrna. He was having trouble, and when they finally gave way he rammed splinters up under his finger nails all the way to the cuticle! Ouch!! After much painful digging and pulling he has been unable to remove the splinters from one of his nails, and is enduring a throbbing pain hoping his body will expel them. Poor Andy!

The next bit of luck, none of it good, was that even after we called ahead to the bridge to be sure it was up and running, we still had to wait, and wait, and wait. After another hour in front of George Musson Memorial Bridge, it finally lifted and we were on our way.

Well, things usually happen in threes, so we were a little apprehensive waiting for the third bit of luck. We didn't have to wait too long. Andy accidentally turned off the "accessories" switch at the nav station while searching for his cell phone. He had engaged me in conversation while I was at the helm, so I didn't notice that the power to the auto pilot had been turned off! By the time I noticed we were firmly off course and headed for shore. I recovered fairly quickly, but on the way back on course we ran aground in 4 feet of water. Luckily we didn't hit too hard and were able to break free.

That was that. We have always said that if we had bad omens at the beginning of the day we should not proceed. We looked at "Skipper Bob" and decided to stop at Daytona Beach after only three and a half hours on the water.

We treated ourselves to a dock for the night. Break out the airconditioner Baby! Woohoo!! We got the airconditioner going, filled the water tanks, bought some ice, cleaned the decks, and went for lunch at the riverside cafe at the end of the dock.

Later in the evening Henry and I walked to the Publix and picked up a few groceries. We packed them into the bottom of his stroller and headed back just in time to meet up with Andy and grab some icecream bars. Our day definitely improved.

The moral of this story? Always call it quits when things aren't going your way. There's always tomorrow.

Cocoa Beach to New Smyrna Beach

Well, we finally left Cocoa and ventured on. We planned today to do a long trip to Daytona Beach. Everything was going well, we were enjoying our day on the water. Unfortunately things don't always go as planned. In New Smyrna Beach we came across a bridge that was having trouble, and had been unable to open for over two hours. Apparently the engineers were hard at work trying to correct the problem, so we waited...and waited...and waited. After more than an hour of idling in front of the bridge we decided we were meant to stay in New Smyrna.

We tied up to their free dock, alongside a lovely park. We have never met so many friendly people!!!!!! Everyone and their brother stopped by to say hello, where you from, where you going, how old is the baby, I've been to Canada... We talked to them all, and finally had to go below deck to get some rest!

The dogs enjoyed the park, and we enjoyed take-out from the local restaurant. I was glad to be tied up to a dock, as the weather got quite nasty for awhile. I guess we were meant to stay in New Smyrna. I would highly recommend a visit there, if only for the sweet townspeople.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Rainy Days in Cocoa

We stayed in Cocoa for a couple of extra gloomy, rainy days. The weather was really crappy, and the people were nice in this little touristy town, so we decided to stay put until the sunny weather returned.

We are not in a hurry at the moment anyway, as it's the 4th of July weekend and we are almost as far as St. Augustine. We'll be waiting there until at least Monday for our friend William to join us. Then Andy and William will do a run up the coast of 36 hours or so while Henry, Buddy, Charlie and I drive up to meet them. That will give Andy another opportunity to get some off shore experience with a more experienced sailor, and it will cut about 10 days off of our journey home.

The first rainy day in Cocoa was pretty dull. We hung around the boat and stayed dry. It was the first time I'd suffered anything near boredom on this trip. Day two we ventured out. Almost immediately after going ashore we were caught in a torrential downpour. We sought shelter under a tree in the park. We were staying reasonably dry, but Andy was convinced that another tree in the park looked fuller and would keep us dryer. We made a run for it, and got drenched!! The other tree was bigger, but the rain poured right through its foliage! We ran as fast as we could to a nearby pizza parlour, but you know Florida's rain. We were soaked to the bone! Poor Henry has never been so wet in his life!

I try to be prepared when we go out, and I had a change of clothes in Henry's diaper bag, so he got to sit in a high chair nice and dry and laugh at his wet parents! Oh well, we didn't melt. After lunch we strolled through the little shops in town and picked up a couple of size 18month shirts for Henry (he shouldn't outgrow those too quickly!).

We ended our outing with a walk in the park. Henry rode his first swing! He had a wonderful time and I took a billion pictures! Thank goodness for digital cameras. He also rode the slide, but was not impressed.

It was a great family day, and we feel refreshed for the next leg of our journey.