Back at Daytona, again

Moved back to Daytona (Loggerhead Marina) to prepair for my trip north. I will depart on May 1st with my first stop in St. Augustine.

My brother-in-law just moved into a condo across the Halifax River from the marina. Went over for dinner yesterday and had a good time. George's Condo This is George’s Condo taken from Loggerhead Marina.

This morning I got out the kayak and paddled over to the condo. But I didn’t have a phone, and no way of getting in so I turned around and paddled back. I might do the same tomorrow, round trip is 1.5 miles so it’s a good workout. Got in and out of the kayak on my new ladder, worked as advertised, easier then getting in and out at a floating dock. Need to get some wet shoes though.

Two years before the mast.

It’s been two years since I left California and headed east to live on the boat. All I can say is there is no change in my feelings about living aboard. Far from getting boring it is getting better. The past two months I have been in Cocoa, Fl, and on the 1st of February I will head north to Titusville. Only about 20 miles but the harbor is better, less exposure to the waves.

Living aboard has different appeal to different people, I like the solitude in the middle of a crowd. I can be alone or with like minded people, my choice. And I meet new friends almost every day.

Next month will be hard again, Feb 5th is the worst day. The last year I had with Helen was a painful bliss. Horrible what was happening, but Helen and I were never so much in love as that last year. I hope she had that always in her mind, I know I carry it with me still.

In Cocoa, Fl

On my trip down from Daytona my auto pilot gave up the ghost. It is over 15 years old and not very good so I decided to sell some jewelry and get a new unit. I chose an EV-100 system from Raymarine. Raymarine is the most known company in the field of small boat autopilot. This system will interface with my Lowrance HDS-8 Chart plotter (GPS) and steer to my plotted course. I don’t know how tight it stays to course and it might not be useable in that mode on the ICW, but it will work good on the ocean. Installation is straight forward and the EV-1 heading sensor is not as susceptible to magnetic interference as the old flux gate compasses. The new control head shows desired course and is much nicer than the old +/- switch without any information shown. I started installation yesterday and am about 1/2 way done. High wind and cold weather will delay further work for about a week.

EV-100 Autopilot

Stewart, Florida

I came down to Stewart, Fl for a couple of days to see my daughter and the grandkids. I’ll have more pictures of them in the photo page soon. The trip down was marred by the bilge pump motor blowing fuses. And just to make it fun, the input pipe to the water pressure pump came off dumping all the water in both tanks into the bilge. Got that fixed while we were in Titusville. All is good now and we are safe in Stewart.

Stewart

Also, Best of luck to my sister, Angela, she had a little accident, but she’s OK.

Accident

Jekyll Island to Daytona

Ro left to go back to Myrtle Beach, she has a reunion with some high school friends in Cape May next week. I stayed in Jekyll Island one more night and took off in the morning. The twists and turns inside to Fernandina were not that hard and the depth was good all the way. Nice trip and got into Fernandina in time for supper. Fueled up. Total from Socastee to Fernandina island was a little over 25 gal. Not too bad.

I left Fernandina the next morning at dead low, If I ran aground It wouldn’t take long for the tide to get me off. Made it through Nassau Sound, where I ran aground last year. This year there was a dredge working on that spot. Into Arlington Marina, a good stop for the night.

I got to St. Augustine in time for a late lunch and watched the music fair in the city square for a while, then went to bed.

Made the last hop down to Daytona the next day and am now sitting in Loggerhead Marina. This will be my home for the next few weeks. Then it’s on to Port St. Lucie.

Thunderbolt, Ga to Jekyll Island, GA

Charted the route from Morning Star Marina to Jekyll Island two ways, down the ICW and outside from St. Catherine’s inlet to Brunswick, GA. We planned to stop at Big Tom Creek and decide then. Down the ICW would take us through the worst of Georgia’s ICW, shoaling and lots of nothing. Planning it out had us spending two nights on the hook and three days of negotiating the twists and turns just to arrive at 8 PM on the third night. Outside we would only have to fight the tides (out and in). Getting to Big Tom Creek was easy and we got there by 1:30. It was HOT all day, we doused our T-Shirts with water and had a pleasant afternoon and evening. Monday started with the decision to go outside. It also started with zero wind and the tide against us. Getting out of Catherine’s Inlet was a snap (Aside from the tide which whipped up the Ocean to a mixmaster). We turned south and let Otto take command for the next 38 miles. When we got to Brunswick (St. Simons Inlet) the tide was again against us and there was an 8knt wind against the tide, again a mixmaster. We fought a 3 knt current all the way in. Bu we got in and has a small time in the harbor with flat water and little current against us. Then we entered Jekyll Creek, at dead low. I called ahead to the marina (Jekyll Harbor) and asked where the channel was, I only had 1 ft or less under my keel, She said I should be in at least 6 ft of water. Since I draw 5.5 ft I should feel lucky to have a foot under me. Then that disappeared. But, even though my depth sounder read ZERO ft, I didn’t go aground, (gotta check the calibration), and we made it to the dock by 5:30. This is one time when going outside for a short trip saved me a day inside. Glad we’re here and we are going to stay for three nights. They say going south out of here isn’t so bad.

Sunset On Big Tom Creek:
Sunset On Big Tom Creek

On our way south.

OK, Here goes (second try). We have been on our journey to Florida for 7 nights.
Night #1. At anchor, Bullyard Sound, good hook but we had to stop because of engine trouble, [more later] We were trying to make it from Osprey to Isle of Palms in one day.
Night #2. Isle of Palms, towed in by BoatsUS (Best money I have ever spent), engine problem was a disconnected wire, found and fixed in 10 minutes.
Night #3. At anchor in Church Creek. Beautiful anchorage, easy in and out. Tried to take a shower in the rain but when it was raining hard, the lightning was fierce, then the rain stopped. Fun night, good times.
Night #4. Beaufort Downtown Marina, 3 nights, just because.
Night #5. Beaufort Downtown Marina
Night #6. Beaufort Downtown Marina
Night #7. Morning Star Marina, Thunderbolt, Ga.
Night #8. Tomorrow night will be at anchor on Big Tom Creek.

As you can see from my previous post, the best laid plans go to crap when reality sets in.

[Big Tom Creek Anchorage]

It’s time to head south

I have spent the summer (since May) in Myrtle Beach, lazing in the sun, sitting on the beach. Tomorrow, Sept 1st, I will depart for Florida. My blog will again be replete with the day to day action I will encounter plying the Intracoastal Waterway and Atlantic Ocean while I travel to Port St. Lucy. I should reach Port St Lucy about half past October since I want to spend some time in Daytona visiting with friends. My daughter, Kim, and her husband just moved to Port St Lucy so it will be fun seeing them and the grandkids.

The last two weeks have been hectic getting ready to go. I cleaned everything, made sure everything was OK, engine, transmission, etc. Stocked up the refrigerator and larder. Today I am just catching the last of the preparations and making some reservations for stops along the way.

Just now the stops are Isle Of Palms, Hilton Head, Jekyll Island, Atlantic Beach (near Jacksonville), St. Augustine, and Daytona. I’ll solidify the rest while in Daytona. There will be a number of nights on the hook, and a number of days outside. The longest day will be from Hilton Head to Brunswick Harbor (GA) where we will anchor before going into Jekyll Island for a couple of days rest.