Wednesday, June 24, 2015

June 16, 2015 Brunswick, GA

Dave had set our chart plotter to show the distance remaining to our destination and estimate of time depending on how fast you are traveling.  So most of the night, it said we would be to Brunswick, GA around 10:00 am. 

When Dave woke up around 7:00, we decided we needed to change our angle so we wouldn’t sail right on past Brunswick.  That changed the wind to a broad reach and slowed us to 5 mph.  And the winds were decreasing to 7-10 mph.  That also changed our estimated time of arrival :(

About 11:00 am, we decided to start the engine again because there was no wind.  So Dave went back to the routine of stopping the engine and removing the mixed oil and adding clean oil.  The totals I mentioned yesterday include the oil he added and removed today.

At 1:50 pm we heard a “May Day” call on the VHF radio.  The boat announced that they were engulfed in flames.  The Coast Guard responded and the boat gave them their GPS coordinates and that there were 3 people on board in life jackets.  The next message said they were going in the water.  And then you didn’t hear from them again. 

They were about 100 miles off shore right out from Brunswick, GA near us.  There were 2 fishing boats in the area that headed to them right away.  And we listened to the USCG and the boats communicate.  A little after 2:00 the fishing boat said they saw the life boat or dinghy and it was empty.  And by 2:20 they picked up the 3 people.  The USCG asked the captain of the boat to talk to them on the radio.  They got the names of all the people on board.  It was a 95 ft Northcoast boat.  Someone later said it was a fishing boat.  They were from Jupiter, FL and on their way to New York.  The USCG asked the fishing boat to head towards Charleston, SC and a helicopter would pick up the rescued people.  The fisherman then told them that he was going back to where he was originally and they could come to him.  He gave them the latitude he was traveling on to meet them.  By 3:20 the helicopter met the boat and we listened to them giving instructions of lowering the coast guard person to the boat and he would explain the rescue process.  It was interesting, but also scary to listen to. 

By now we were heading into the channel to St Simons Sound Inlet which would take us to Brunswick.  We called the marina on our phone because we didn’t want to tie up the VHF radio.  We wanted to be sure they had a slip for us.  And we weren’t sure we would be there by 5:00. 

We saw our first pelicans back in the US.  Dave noted that we didn’t see any pelicans in the Bahamas.  Then he said “did they eat them all?  Maybe it’s a secret delicacy in the Bahamas.”

We made it to Brunswick Landing Marina by 5:00 and pulled into a slip on their transient dock, #1.  That’s where we were last winter because we didn’t plan to be there long.  On Wednesday, they would have an opening on dock #9 which is right by the Yacht Club house.  So it will be right by the showers and laundry, too. 

We decided to walk downtown to have pizza.  I don’t remember having pizza over the last 3 months.  And it felt good to go for a walk after 3.5 days on a boat.  We were pleasantly surprised on how rested we felt.  After a 24 hour sail, all we want to do is sleep right away.

The Customs and Border Protection office closed at 5:00.  And we have 24 hours to check back into the US.  So I left them a message with our information and we’ll call them in the morning.

We really liked coming right into Georgia and not traveling up the coast of Florida.  I think we would do this again and recommend it to others.  Our previous longest passage was 40 hours and about 180 miles across the northern part of the Gulf of Mexico.  This was close to 80 hours and about 370 miles.  We gave each other a good “pat on the back.”   

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