Thursday, February 28, 2019

February 22-23, 2019 St Augustine to Canaveral through a lock

We were expecting the part for the water maker to arrive today.  We had to be off of the mooring ball by 11:00, maybe an extra hour.  Dave had a message that it was on a truck in town and would get a text once it was delivered.  I headed to the marina about 9:00 with our laundry.  Then I would pick up the part, and we would be on our way.  At 11:00, the part hadn’t been delivered.  I talked to the harbormaster to ask for an extension of an hour.  Then if the part wasn’t there, we’d pay for another night.  He said to go ahead and stay until 1:00.  About 12:30, it wasn’t there.  I headed back to the boat.  We moved the boat north of the mooring field and anchored.  We had lunch and tried to come up with a new plan.  After lunch, Dave checked his e-mails and found one saying the part was delivered, no text.  So he took the dinghy in to pick it up and we were on our way by 2:45.

We headed offshore to go to Canaveral.  Just south of St Augustine is a shallow area on the ICW.  We would have wanted to go through there at high tide, or at least a rising tide.  If we got stuck, the tide would lift us off.  The high tides right now were about 6am and 6pm.  Going offshore looked like a better option.  We figured it would take us about 20 hours to get to the Canaveral canal.  We wanted to arrive in the daylight, so everything should work out. 

We knew the wind was going to be on our nose, and it was.  So we motored all the way to Canaveral.  The weather was going to be worse on Saturday, so we didn’t want to wait any longer.  Dave took a nap from 5:30 to 7:30pm.  When he woke up, we had a soup dinner together. Then I headed to bed.  Dave stood watch and I slept until about 3:00am Saturday.

I stood watch from about 3:30 to 7:30am while Dave slept.  We had to round the Hetzel Shoals on the outside of the bump in the shoreline near Canaveral.  Once we rounded that and turned west, we had waves hitting us on the side, which made the ride a little rough.  It as time for Dave to get up anyway.  We were entering the Port Canaveral inlet for the first time.  There were cruise ships, Navy ships, commercial fishing boats and weekend fisherman.  This was our first time though this inlet.  We were going to go through a lock for the first time.  Dave got out fenders and 2 lines that each had to be 75ft long.  We had to request a bridge opening right before the lock which went smooth.  Then we had to call the lock tender.  Another boat was just coming out of the lock from the west, heading east.  So that was good timing, too.  About 9:00 we entered the lock and tied up.  One other boat joined us.  We only waited about 10-15 minutes for the water to raise (or lower, I didn’t really notice which), and we were on our way west.  It was a good first lock experience. 

gate closing behind us

Dave tied the bow, then let out line so I could tie the stern to a cleat


gate opening to exit the lock
We have a cousin, Doug and Elaine Dwyer, that moved to Cocoa, FL a couple years ago, actually not far from the Port Canaveral canal.  We have been telling him for a couple years that we would stop and visit him when we travel south.  We contacted him a few days ago to see if he would be home and able to meet with us.  We found out that a brother of his that lives in Oklahoma, Gary and Lindy Dwyer, was visiting for the weekend.  To get together, we had to figure out a place that we could dinghy to shore.  Most of the shoreline is private property.  The boat ramps don’t want you to leave your dinghy tied up.  I found a restaurant with a boat dock just south of where Doug lived.  We were able to meet there for a late lunch and visit for awhile.  It was great that the timing worked out. and so fun to visit again.  Doug’s job is trouble shooting the software used in the missile launches.  Pretty cool.  He tells everyone he is a “rocket scientist”. 
Elaine and Doug, Lindy and Gary, Mary and Dave
We went back to the boat, watched a movie and went to bed early.  Last night’s sleep was king of chunky with overnight watches.

February 20-21, 2019 St Augustine organizing the boat again

We had to have the car back when Enterprise opened at 7:30am.  I volunteered for the job.  But, we forgot to get gas last night.  They had donuts at the gas station, so I bought some for the people at Enterprise (and ok, a couple for us).  I told them I would rather spend the money on food for them than a taxi back to the marina last night.
foggy morning
looking back at our boat
marina docks
Once I was back at the boat, Schneider’s said they were riding their bikes into town and wondered if we wanted to meet for breakfast.  We had to wait for the pump out boat to come to our boat at 9:00.  They have a hose that goes into a hole on our deck (normally capped) that uses a vacuum to empty our holding tanks.  Neither one worked.  They figured our vents were clogged.  When we have pumped overboard out at sea, there has been a strange airflow afterwards. It was probably because of the clogged vent.  Dave will work on that and have them return tThat’s a job for after breakfast.We met at Georgie’s Diner, a recommendation from another boater.  It was great.  We walked back to the marina together and went our separate ways.

It seemed like I had been going someplace nonstop since we got here Saturday.  So it was nice to have some time to get organized again. I realized my vegetables needed a little attention.  I spent some time cleaning up the galley and cooked dinner on the boat for the first time in 5 days.
neglected onions
Dave used the shop vac to open the holding tank vents.  He had to pull things apart to get at them under the walls in the heads.  He even left one torn apart until it would be checked the next day.  He fixed the latch on our freezer that broke just a few days ago. 

I was working on the computer when I looked up and saw Dave with his head inside his t-shirt.  He was working on the nav lights for our dinghy, the red and green ones at the bow.  The one we currently had on the dinghy had a bad rubber seal that was no longer water tight.  He pulled out our spare nav lights and put lithium batteries in it,  He thought he could see a faint light, even with the switch in the off position, but maybe it was just sunlight reflecting off of it.  He needed it to be dark to check it out, hence working under his t-shirt.  He’s so creative, but makes me laugh in the process.  He took it apart, used his meter, and still couldn’t figure out why it was staying lit.  It might be in the switch itself.  He ended up taking parts off of the new one, fixing the old one, and threw away the rest. He didn’t think we needed to buy replacement nav lights at this time.  No one uses them in the Bahamas anyway. 

Today, the pump out worked on our aft head, but Dave still needs to do more work on the forward head.  We noticed a tear in the cloth of the dodger, so Dave took that down and sewed a patch over it.  Not a pretty one, but it’s better.  He cleaned out the air conditioner lines, since we won’t be using it at anchor.  He learned, from a casual conversation with another boater last December, to put bromine tablets in the air conditioner raw water screen to help clean the lines.  The bromine tablet dissolved and ran through the system.  He could see that it was working after the first couple days.  The hose from the screen used to be clear, but was caked on the inside.  He could actually see through it again.  

Dave transferred fuel from our jerry cans to the diesel tank, and gas into the Honda generator, and topped off our gas fuel tank in the dinghy.  He prefers to take the cans to the fuel dock to refill rather than take our boat to the fuel dock).  That’s where “shit happens”.  We made a trip to the marina by dinghy with the fuel jugs.  I took a shower at the marina.  And we met the Schneider’s once more to hand off a package.  They had to go to Gainesville, Fl for a part for their RV today.  On their way back, they stopped in Green Cove Springs to pick up the medication for Dave that arrived yesterday, one day late for us to pick up.  Dave later sent Colleen a text thanking her for being his Balto (the dog that delivered medicine in Alaska in a Disney movie).  She responded with “Ruff!”.

seared tuna on salad with new Ski for Light glass of Gin and Tonic

February 19, 2019 Castillo de San Marcos and beach lunch

We had to move our rental car by 8:00 or feed the meter $2.50 per hour.  I forgot my phone, so Dave went back to the boat.  I was able to wait at the car without moving it, watching for the “meter maid”.  I had to laugh when I saw a guy come out of the hotel we were parked by and use a credit card for two of the cars.  Then a guy in shorts and flip flops shows up with a bag full of quarters and starts feeding the meter.  Life in a tourist town. 

We went to the Maple Street Biscuit company for breakfast that was suggested by Schneiders.  There was a counter to put in your order.  As we were in line, we heard them asking the customers to name something that makes you smile, instead of giving them your name.  We’re hearing “sunshine” and “my mom”.  Well, that’s just too frilly for Dave.  He says “shotguns”before I can say anything.  So as we’re hearing them call out the orders, I start to worry that we are going to cause a panic.  Everyone is going to hit the floor or run out the door when they yell “shotguns”.  They actually said “order for shotguns”.  I timed it with filling my coffee cup at the self serve counter, so I wouldn’t have to pick up our food.  We heard someone say “did they just say shotguns?”.  Never a dull moment with Dave.

We have to wait until this afternoon for the mail to arrive before we head to Green Cove Springs.  Dave wanted to work on the water maker again, so Colleen and I planned a “play date”.  We picked her up at their  campground, about 20 minutes by car.  We came back to St Augustine to tour the Fort.  Dave, being a disabled Vet, can get in free and bring 3 people with him.  So he took us in, then walked to the boat.  We have both toured it before, but I had fun seeing it again with Colleen.  Most interesting fact:  St Augustine is the oldest permanent European settlement in the continental US.  It’s because of this fort.  Whenever the city was under attack, the villagers would go into the fort for protection.  There were 8 wooden structures on this site starting in 1565.  The Castillo de San Marcos was built in between 1672 and 1695. 
I'm on the fort, our boat is in the background
Since we had a car, I wanted to have lunch somewhere further away than walking distance.  Colleen and I drove out to Anastasia Island, the land mass between the ocean and the ICW and the city of St Augustine.  We found a fun beach restaurant called Beachcomber’s. 
After lunch, I took her back to her campground and picked up Dave.  We then headed to Green Cove Springs to pick up our mail.  They only received one of the prescriptions we needed.  We headed back in time to return the car before they closed at 6:00, but not in time for their driver to run us to the marina and back before 6:00.  So they let us keep the car overnight.  BUT, there is the parking issue again.

We were able to park in the same spot, right across the road from the marina.  Dave felt like having soup, so we went to Harry’s on the waterfront.   Louisiana style restaurant with the best she crab soup.

Dave spent the day working on the water maker again.  He and the company figured out he needed a new pressure relief valve.  That was the wrong part they sent him not too long ago.  He actually had it in his hand and sent it back.  The company hadn’t even credited us yet, so they’ll send it to St Augustine.  It won’t be here until Friday, so I guess we’ll be her a couple more days. 

February 18, 2019 RV park adventure

Dave wanted to do some work on the boat, so he took me by dinghy to Schneider’s campground so I could play for the day.  I met Colleen at Aunt Kate’s restaurant where we had a light lunch and a cocktail.  It’s on the ICW.  Their campground, North Beach Camp Resort, is located on a strip of land between the ICW and the ocean.   They have the best of both worlds.  They can walk to either shore for the sunrise or sunset. 

Colleen and I went for a walk on the beach.  We found Gene fishing, which is where he spends most of his time.  Then we headed to their campground swimming pool for a swim. 

that's Gene fishing behind us

jelly fish on the shore
Gene digs up these sand fleas to use as bait
About 4:00, I had Enterprise pick me up at their campground. We needed a car to go to our mail service about 40 miles from here.  Dave had some medication delivered there that he wanted to take with us to the Bahamas.  After getting the car, I picked up Dave and we headed back to the campground. 
sunset is actually behind us

Gene and Colleen cooked dinner for us at their camper.  We had whiting fish, which Gene caught off the shore in the ocean.  It was a great night to be outside.  A little breeze kept the bugs at bay.   
cooking dinner on their campstove
whiting and asparagus


full moon through the campsite trees
That afternoon, Dave spent time making water.  It was running slow, and the pressure gauge was irregular.  He had to watch it and continually adjust it.  He did some checking on things and sent some photos and questions to the company.  Great to have, but after 5 years, it’s needing lots of maintenance.

February 17, 2019 Sailing with the Schneider's

We stopped in St Augustine because South Dakota friends were there in an RV park, Gene and Colleen Schneider from Sturgis.  We made plans to take them for a sail today. Their campground was about 3 miles up the ICW from our anchorage, so we picked them up with our dinghy. 

teaching moment for cleating
dingies in the dinghy
wild Colleen

on a mooring ball in the St Augustine city marina
 Back at the boat, we gave them a tour of the boat and headed out the inlet.  Colleen and I spent most of the time out on the bow.  Colleen never dreamed she would be sailing on a sailboat and even got teary eyed at moments.  She loved it.  Dave and Gene tried their hand at fishing, but this area is really over fished, so no luck.  They enjoyed discussing all the mechanics of sailing. 
attaching lines to lift dinghy
lines on the davits
lifting the dingy
guys releasing the mooring ball



the furling line is red for the genicker sail


making sandwiches for lunch in the galley

Back on shore, we went out for dinner at O.C. White’s.  The building was built in 1790 and was originally a hotel, one of the first in St Augustine.  Excellent fish and hamburger (Dave finally found a place that would cook it medium). 

Below are a couple of Colleen's videos.  When you have guests, you see things you wouldn't have thought to share.  The first one shows the main sail coming out of the mast furler.  The second one is the pelicans on the water that we see quite often.  Thanks Colleen