Tuesday, 28 February 2017

A Visit on the Boat - Jeff's 70th Birthday!

Yesterday, Jeff felt better, so we explored a few of the attractions in St. Augustine together – notably, Flagler College, the Lightener Museum and the city’s and country’s oldest house.

Then today - Jeff’s 70th birthday – we had a visit from Howie and Susan Shapiro. They are old friends from New Brunswick, who now live in Gainsville, Florida – about 1.5 hours from where we are moored in St. Augustine. We had a lovely lunch together on the boat, and then explored the old town, and ended our day with a seafood birthday dinner out for Jeff – all wonderful!

So tomorrow we continue to make our way South – probably half-way to Daytona Beach. Back again soon …

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Beautiful, Historic St. Augustine

The day dawned sunny but cool, and Jeff wasn’t feeling well. So I went to the mainland with the marina tender, and spent a wonderful day touring beautiful, historic St. Augustine. As the oldest city in the US – established in 1565 – its history is so interesting.

I toured both on foot and in a little hop-on, hop-off trolly – and was lucky enough to get a driver whose family dates back to the town’s beginnings. Duke had wonderful stories about his great grandfather and grandfather, both of whom had lots of influence on the town’s development. I didn’t know that St. Augustine was one of the places where Martin Luther King held one of his marches. He survived two assassination attempts here, and we saw several houses that hosted and hid him, and the church he preached in. The Spanish influence is all over the city, especially architecturally. Recently some bones dating back to the 1500’s were discovered under a house foundation that was flooded in a hurricane. Quite a history lesson!

If Jeff is feeling better tomorrow, we might explore on foot the interior of some of the places I passed on the trolly. Here are a few of the many pics I took …

Saturday, 25 February 2017

We Made It!

Finally, after a full day yesterday with the mechanic working on the engine (at a cost of close to $600.00 – ouch!) – we filled up with diesel this morning, pumped out and made our way South to St. Augustine.

It was a lovely 5-hour motor (with the engine humming at 8.4 knots, with the current J) – passing many various kinds of boats, gorgeous, palatial homes – some completely screened-in, pelicans, seagulls, and the occasional very shallow sand bar – one of which we almost touched with our bottom (1 foot below the keel). It’s a challenging passage, as the ICW winds around and often becomes very shallow – the helmsperson really needs to keep watch constantly. Jeff and I took turns steering, so neither of us got too tired. We also successfully negotiated having a bridge opened for us  - “Sailing vessel Sea Change requesting passage heading South at fourteen thirty hours” – sounds official, doesn’t it? I’m learning the lingo!

We took a mooring ball at the St. Augustine Municipal Marina – after four passes (very windy day, is my excuse), and were greeted by an arc of three dolphins, welcoming us in! Having just finished our gins and coconut water in the sunny cockpit, we’re off in our new dinghy to sign in and have showers, before we bar-b-q a filet of steelhead trout for dinner. This is more like it!

Coda: As we were signing in, someone commented on my Mimico jacket – turns out they’re members, too, sailing with friends at Lakeshore Yacht Club to the Bahamas. Pic below …

Thursday, 23 February 2017

TowBoat US to the Rescue!

Well, another amusing day on the high seas J. We spent the night anchored on the side of the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW), because our engine had been overheating and we were drenched in a huge rainstorm. So my captain went at the engine first thing in the morning, unfortunately with no success.

Fortunately, though, we had just renewed our membership with TowBoat US, and they came within an hour and towed us about 5 miles to Beach Marina, where we are now happily ensconced, awaiting the arrival of a mechanic to deal with our engine (probably tomorrow morning).

The upside of all this is that we can have a hot shower and do a load of laundry here, and the sun is now finally shining, after another rainstorm today. All part of a day in the life of sailors (and a lesson in patience for Marilyn) – we might make it to St. Augustine by the weekend. And after all, we're still in Florida - not a bad place to be in Winter, even in the rain.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Down the Ditch During a Cold Front

The Intracoastal Waterway is affectionately called “the ditch” – and we headed down it today in a miserable cold front, bringing thunder, lightening and tons of rain – not great. Though it would have been lovely on a sunny day – lots of gorgeous homes on the water on one side, and interesting vegetation on the other.

However, today was challenging in a few ways – here’s how Jeff described it in an e-mail to friends we’re meeting in St. Augustine ..

“The adventure continues. 2hrs down the intracoastal from Jacksonville we simultaneously got heavy rain/t-storm... and the engine overheat alarm went off. It had been running a little hot and I guess it got too hot. Anchored off to the side and waiting for the engine to cool down. Could be low coolant, loose belt or bad thermostat. For the moment I'm having a nap!!”

So we hunkered down in the cabin for lunch, and as I was preparing it, a can of beer exploded all over everything L. Looks like a good day for both of us to take a nap!