Fernandina to Port Royal 5/12/2016

Took off yesterday from Fernandina, plan was to go outside to St. Simon’s Island. It was sunny, warm and a 10knt wind from the south east. Past the St. Mary’s Inlet breakwater and turned north. First I had to get past the pickets on patrol, gathering all the illegal shrimp. I set a course and passed two crossing shrimpers by passing in front of them by about 1/4 mile. By then I was into the nice warm day and gentle 2ft seas, do I decided I would go for Port Royal, SC, 120 miles. Being on my own I agreed with the mutiny. Then I put up the sails and charted a new course, 32 Degrees Magnetic. That would end up right at the entrance to Port Royal Sound. ETA at the buoy was 12:30 AM. Didn’t have to trim much, I was doing 7 knts and was happy to let the autopilot hold the course. As I was passing Wassaw Sound the sun was getting low. Not wanting to have to take down the sails alone in the dark I struck them and went on under power. Getting past the Savannah River entrance (Tybee Roads) I was confronted with a sight I had never seen, two white lights high above the horizon with a green light a little lower. It was too dark to see anything else, and in my position it didn’t look like it was moving. So I powered on at 6nkts. A few minutes later I looked again and it looked to be closer, and the green light moved to the left. It was moving! I “put the pedal to the metal ” and got past the entrance only to look back and see an empty car hauler about 1/2 mile back crossing my stern, those suckers are huge. Made it to the entrance to Port Royal within 15 minutes of the original ETA, but then the fun started. First and weather report came over the VHF radio (The radio automatically switched to the weather channel because it was a serious weather alert) Thunderstorms ahead, but don’t worry, there’re well inshore, Then I saw the clouds off to my left and right and a roll of clouds streaking between them. And the lightning started. It was weird lightning, yellow, not white. And it was going from cloud to cloud, and cloud to ground. And it was all around. The wind came up to about 30knts and when I passed under the cloud roll I could swear my mast cut through them. I was sure I would be hit. But as quick as it came it passed behind me. a total of 1 hour of shear fear, then calm. I passed the rest of the voyage quickly and set my anchor just before the Lady’s Island Drive High Bridge. 19.5 hours, 120 miles, Avg 6.3KNts

Winter in Ft. Pierce, Fl.

I spent the winter of 2015-2016 in Ft. Pierce, FL. I was in Daytona at Loggerhead but one night there told me it just wasn’t the same place. So, the next day I packed up let loose the lines and moved over to Halifax Harbor. Not a bad place and I stayed there for a month. During that time Ro came down and we took a cruise to the Bahamas. It was a nice trip and really relaxing, not having to pilot through the shallow waters, or pay the fees.

We got back to Daytona just before New Years. On the 25th of Jan I again tossed the lines and took a three day cruise down the ICW to Ft. Pierce. Nice trip overall, on the hook at Tittusville, in a slip at Melbourne. Got into Ft. Pierce on the third day and tied up on A Dock. This place should have a shuttle out here, It’s about 1/3 of a mile to the dock gate. They let me use my bike on the dock so it’s not that bad. There are two Tiki bars nearby, and a pub like place that has Boddington’s on tap (when available). There are two Publix Markets within biking distance and enough restaurants to keep me happy.

Ro came down for a week and we rented a car to go to the Keys for a couple of days. Walked down Duval St. Ate at Sloppy Joe’s. Looked the place over and found that it was very much the same as everyplace else in Florida. Lots of Tiki Bars with boat drinks and their version of a Cheeseburger In Paradise. We stayed in Key Largo which I liked better, I also liked Marathon. Boot Key Harbor looked good, but crowded.

I am now getting the Nomad ready for my trip north. I plan on departing May 1st or sooner, depending on preparations and weather. Don’t have much to do, but it depends on other people meeting the schedule.

Engine instruments connected to the data buss!

I have connected the engine instruments to the data buss for display on the helm and navigation desk MFDs (Multi Function Displays). This will give me the ability to see what the engine oil pressure, temperature, voltage, RPM, and fuel level are without getting on my knees to view the display panel. I used a RS11 interface from NoLand Engineering. It was an easy installation although when I asked Raymarine and NoLand Engineering they both said to ask the other and did not want to guarantee anything. But it went easy, except for the special cables I had to order, and everything is working as it is supposed to. If you would like a complete narrative on the installation let me know, I haven’t been able to find one that describes connecting a NEMA 2000 interface to a Seatalk Ng backbone.

The story of the dinghy oars.

Last summer I took a really nice trip to Lookout Point. N. C. couldn’t have had a nicer place to stay for a few days. The first day at anchor I put the motor on the dinghy and we went to shore and over to the beach. Great day, but on the way back I ran out of fuel (D’oh! a Homer moment). So I pulled out the oars and started to row, then the oar lock broke. Paddled like a canoe to the boat. The next day we decided to head back, into a 35knt gale. We were towing the dinghy and I forgot the oars were in there. The dinghy flipped and one oar went to the bottom, (D’oh!, Homer moment #2).

Homer

Well I finally go around to trying to replace the missing oar. First, the oars don’t come with the oar lock, so I have to buy new oar locks (The kit only comes as a set of two for the boat, cha ching). But Defender had them so I ordered one oar and the upgrade kit of oar locks. Yesterday the oar lock kit arrives, the oar is back ordered to Europe and won’t be here till the end of September. Today I put in the new oar locks and set up the one oar with the new connection piece. I’ll be waiting for the oar to come, but I leave here October 1st.

Update 9/18/15: The oars came and it was two in the package. Now I have two new oars and everything is fine.

Mid summer update

First, my trip back north in the spring of 2015, the longest trip so far.

I left Daytona for Myrtle Beach on May 1st, expecting to get to St. Simon’s Island in time to spend some time and then take a trip up to New Jersey to attend the Re Marriage of a couple of Ro’s high school friends. Great party. Stayed at St. Simon’s till June 1st. Nice place, good food, good beaches, friendly people. The restaurant at the marina was pricey but had very good food. Sal’s Pizza was the best I have had south of Brooklyn. I tried to head north once by going outside, but the seas were 7-10′ in the channel and I couldn’t get out.

June 1st I headed north inside. About 15 miles in the back of beyond of Georgia the engine started loosing oil. Stopped overnight just off the ICW at anchor and tried to figure it out, I still had 4 qts of oil so I didn’t call anyone. Next morning I started out and we lost all 4 qts inside a mile. Called BoatsUS and I was towed into Thunderbolt Marina. Got a mechanic to go over the engine, then I did the one thing you shouldn’t do, I mentioned that I thought it might be a leek in the aux oil pressure indicator feed line, BIG MISTAKE. He took it as gospel even though I said it was most probably not the problem, but he saw a drip and removed the feed line. Then he said it was good to go, so the next day I went. Half way to Beaufort the engine seized. Call to BoatsUS again, towed into Beaufort Downtown Marina. Had the mechanic, JD come out, he said the engine was dead, I agreed. Unfortunately JD could not handle a complete engine change so I called in the big boys from Marine Tech in Hilton Head Island. They could do it but the boat had to be at Skull Creek Marina. Called BoatsUS again.

Sidebar: If you own a boat bigger than 20 feet, and you don’t have BoatsUS towing insurance you should get it. All three tows were covered, over $2500 worth of towing for the yearly rate of (about) $150.

Anyway, towed the boat to Hilton Head Island (Skull Creek Marina) and got it set to have the engine changed, then I left to stay in Myrtle Beach with Ro while the work was being done. I’d tell you why I didn’t want to stay, but I don’t like talking bad about big lousy HOAs at big snooty Hilton Head Island Plantations. Not a place I would stay if I didn’t have to. The Marina was great, just hope you don’t have to go ashore.
Engine Installed
July 1st the engine is finally in, I go back down and do sea trials. All is good, brand new engine (Universal 3cyl. Diesel). I am finally on my way to Myrtle Beach. First day out I stop at Port Royal Marina fro lunch, just another cheeseburger in paradise, I fuel up and off I go only to stop at Downtown Marina to wait for the Lady Island bridge. Past that at the 3PM (last) opening and I am finally free from civilization for a while. That night I found a nice anchorage just past Fenwick Cut and spent an uneventful night there. The next day I made it all the way to Isle Of Palms. I was going to stay closer to Charleston Harbor, but the marina I was trying for would not answer the radio.
Oh well, the boat was doing 6.5Knts over the water at 2500 rpms so I was moving faster than I planned and was ahead of schedule. Spent the night in IOP and the next day I got past McCullenville without grounding. Put into Georgetown Landing for the night. Next day it was an easy cruise up to Ospery Marina. Put her in her slip, cleaned her up and went to Ro’s house.

Now, here I am on the 17th of August and I am planning my trip back south to Florida, departing October 1st.

Fall 2014

The summer is coming to a close and it’s almost time to migrate south. I took a long cruise up to Oriental, NC with a side trip to Point Lookout in July. Then on Sept 1st I sailed down to Fernandino and left the boat staged there for the trip south. I am in Myrtle Beach getting ready to go to Italy. Nov 1st I will sail down Florida till I stop or the land ends.

21 days on the boat.

On July 1st we departed Osprey Marina for a trip north. It was a beautiful day and we made it to Little River, SC. But with a hurricane coming we ducked into Cricket Creek Marina. The hurricane was a bust here but the weather was rotten so we stayed two nights. Top wing during “Aurthur” was 35mph.

Friday (the 4th of July) we took off for Southport, NC and had a nice trip, all electronics were working as advertised (rudder response is a little high but I’ll fix that when I get back). Got in to Southport about 4PM and we tied up at the north end of the Face dock, perfect for viewing the Fireworks over the bay.

Saturday we traveled unmolested to Wrightsville Beach. The trip up the Cape Fear River and trough Snows Cut was timed perfectly to take advantage of the tides. Had the famous “Fish & Chips” (Tuna & Taco chips) at Dockside Restaurant. Lots of people at the restaurant, which was also our dock for the night.

Anchored out in Mile Hammock on the 6th (Sunday) after a day of dodging all the weekend boaters on the ICW. Mile Hammock is a protected and dredged anchorage that is part of Camp lejenue, the Marine base. This spot is well known by ICW travelers but locals only use it for fishing. It was a very quiet night under an almost full moon. Four other boats anchored that night, it can fit about 15-20.

Monday we SAILED up to Morehead City. Morehead City Yacht Basin is a nice marina, we stayed two nights. Our original plan was to go outside here to get to the bay behind Cape Lookout. This was squashed but high winds and rough seas. So instead we went up the Adams Creek and across the Neuse River (again under sail) to Oriental, NC. A quaint little town that is a must stop on the ICW. Had dinner at M&M’s, also a must stop. And breakfast at Beans Coffee. Stayed two nights.

After Oriental we went back to Morehead City Yacht Basin getting ready to head home. But first, the next day was Saturday, Ro’s birthday.
My surprise for her was that I checked the weather and it was good, so we went outside and sailed to Lookout Bight.

Lookout Bight


Lookout Bight was as beautiful as we expected. The water was clear the sand on the beach was soft, the shelling was great. The first day we took the dinghy to shore and collected shells. That night was Ro’s birthday, and the moon helped, it was the brightest and largest moon in years. This was because it was also the closest it would come for a long time, it was called a “Super Moon”. Day two we took the dinghy to the cut in the dunes to get to the ocean. The water was warm, the surf was nil. But the sun was hot and we had a good time. Traveling back first we ran out of gas, then the oar broke. Climbing back on board the ladder standoff broke. This was the start of the troubles on this trip.

The next day (Monday) we started back to Morehead City. Right into the face of 25-30 knt winds and 7′ seas across our port bow. The 1 1/2 hours we were out in that it rocked and rolled like I have never experienced before. A boat that left the same time as we did tried to set his sails but we watched as they shook back and forth in the head wind the whole way. But we made it back to Morehead City with only one casualty, my computer fell and broke the screen, total loss.

Next day, the 14th, we set off for home only to be stuck in 30-35 knt winds. At first it wasn’t so bad, maybe 15-20, so I set my jib. It worked for a while, but the wind shifted and the sail luffed and the lines got tangled. I crawled out to the for-deck an tried to untangle them. I got beat bad by the ropes flaying in the wind. The sail suffered, too, most of the trailing edge lost it’s stitching and will have to go to the sail maker to be repaired. After I finally got the sail in I spotted Spooners Creek Marina about a 1/4 mile ahead. Called in but no response. Figured I could go in and at least regroup. Got in and the dockmaster was standing on the dock fueling a small fishing boat. He helped us tie up and we stayed for two days which rained all the time.

Finally took off from Spooners Creek on Wednesday. We got passed Swansboro and Sneeds Ferry but didn’t want to go all the way to Wrightsville Beach so we stopped at Harbour Village Marina a very nice marina with a good restaurant nearby that delivers. At least our bad weather troubles were over.

Next it was on to Southport. And then to Dock Holiday Marina and home at Osprey Marina without any more drama. It was a fun trip and lots of excitement, but we were glad to be home.

My Spring migration to Myrtle Beach is complete.

Lots to catch up on. I have been in Myrtle Beach since Monday, this is Thursday. I left Daytona on May 1st, stayed inside to St. Augustine. It rained real hard just as I entered St. Augustine harbor. Woke up on the 2nd to find a full day of rain and wind, so I remained in St. Augustine. Took a walk to the Sailors Exchange and picked up a rain slicker, the one I had was well worn out. The new one is a well known brand and very well made, Sailors Exchange price, $25.00.

Saturday, May 3rd started a week of really nice weather and I took off for Jacksonville. Got to Jacksonville Beach and stopped at Beach Marine for the night. Sunday I went up to Fernandina, the shrimp festival was in full swing, the harbor was jammed with boats and the docks with people.

Monday I was able to get away about 10 AM and stayed inside to Jekyll Island. Spent the night there to prepair for my first outside foray on this trip. I had originally planned to only go as far as St. Catherine’s Inlet and anchor in Big Tom Creek, but after looking at the charts I decided WTF I’ll go all the way to Port Royal. This would bypass most of Northern Georgia including Savannah. Went outside at Brunswick Harbor to 15 knt winds from the south west and 3 foot seas. Got the sails up and with the new Autopilot working well I set the course for 30 degrees Magnetic and didn’t have to touch a thing until Port Royal, over 100 miles. I met the Port Royal channel at midnight and set my anchor just before the McTeer Bridge 3 1/2 hours later. In the morning I motored up the waterway to Downtown Marina in Beaufort, where I stayed for two nights.

This brings me to May 9th, a Friday. I followed the Intracoastal through Southern South Carolina to Church Creek on Wadmalaw Island off the North Edisto River. At first I thought I would be in for a rocky night, but the wind died and it was as if I were in a marina.

Next day, Saturday, I sailed across the Charleston Harbor to Isle Of Palms, my last marina of the trip. Sunday I went up the ICW past McClellanville without a problem since I made sure I hit Jeremy Creek at high tide. This area is known for very low water at low tide. But I got through and continued on to Big Duck Creek between the North Santee Bay and the ICW, where I threw out the anchor for the last time.

Monday, May 12th dawned bright and windless as I lifted the anchor to head up the Waccamaw River to my summer home at Osprey Marina in Myrtle Beach. Arrived at exactly 2:00 PM. Secured the boat and Ro picked me up to go to dinner and my first night in a real bed since the high wind at Cocoa forced me into a hotel back in January.

In St. Augustine, Sailing north again.

Sailed up to St. Aug from Daytona yesterday. Got cought in the afternoon “showers” . Need to get a little work done on the boat so I won’t be getting out of here till about 11. Only need to go about 25 miles so I should be OK (Unless the sky opens up again)……..(About 1 hr later)….I might be here till at least tomorrow. It is a perfectly miserable rainy day. Looked at the weather radar in the net and the rain streaches all the way to the middle of the Gulf of Mexico.

Flagler tower