Monday, March 16, 2009

Creeping up North

First thing on Monday morning was to go to the Riviera Beach marina to clear customs and take some fuel. I had completely forgotten about the change of the clock and did not get to customs, next to the marina until around 9:30. There they threaten me first to slap me with a 5,000 dollars fine, claiming that I am supposed to call an 800 number before I even leave the boat, get an entry number and then go to customs. I believe that they mostly wanted to show me how important they are.
Clearance being done, I took 30 gallons of fuel from the marina and left around 10:30 to go to Fort Pierce, hoping to top up the fuel tank at the fuel dock there. Unfortunately, with this one hour that I wasted in the morning, I missed the closing time by about 10 minutes and I settled for anchoring underneath the North Fort Pierce bridge, have an early dinner and prepare to leave early next morning as the tide will start to come in (against me) at 4:30.
So, I got up at 3:00, heaved up the anchor and was underway at 3:45 in the morning, headed to Cape Canavera, where I arrived at 1:30 in the afternoon. I first went to the fuel dock and was surprised to their low price of 2.10 dollar/gallon. I topped up the tank and was met there by Gary. I arranged for a mechanic to come and have a look at the alternator which is sometimes charging, sometimes not. I suspect a screwy harness or the fuse holder that does not look good, but I want to be sure.
The mechanic came, and sure enough, found out that both harnesses, to the regulator and to the tachometer were not good. He changed the fuse holder and fiddled a little bit with the wires until the tachometer would work again, but I know I have to change those harnesses once back in Portsmouth.
The fuel was inexpensive, not the marina, at almost 3 dollars a foot. So on the 11th, I moved into the barge canal to the harbortown marina at 1 dollar a foot.
Then it was lunch at the port with Gary, shopping at Publix in Cocoa Beach, a visit to a Defever 45 in Dragon Point to meet Mike a friend of Gary, Roland, his son Justin. After a few drinks and a lively conversation, we all went to Roberto's in Cocoa beach for a nice cuban dinner.
Then we went back to the marina, ready to leave next morning.
At 7:30 the next day, we went to the ICW and made our way to Daytona Beach in a very nice weather. We anchored south of Daytona Beach early in the afternoon, ready for drinks and dinner.
On Friday the 13th, we left at 8:45, just in time for the first opening of the memorial bridge in Daytona Beach. And we went on all day until we reached the bridge of Lions in St Augustine, that we passed at 4:30 in the afternoon. In theory, the weather on the GRIB file looked OK, so I decided to go outside and try and make the St Simons sound at 7:15 next morning, to catch the incoming tide. This we did, except that we had fog all night, NE wind 15 to 25 and a choppy 4 to 6 foot seas that did not go down well on Gary who spent the whole time in a horizontal position, fighting an upset stomach.
We entered the St Simons sound as planned at 7:15 on Saturday morning, still with a foggy weather and a visibility restricted to less than 0.25 mile. Anyway, with the help of the radar and MaxSea, I went in and made it to my planned anchorage in Big Tom Creek, 28 miles before Savannah.
On Sunday morning, getting up at 7:00, I could not even see the bow ! I was afraid that we were about to waste another day. Fortunately, the fog lifted enough that we could get under way before 10:00 and we arrived in Savannah early afternoon. We had just enough time to clean the boat, before Albert showed up in a splendid scottish uniform, well suited for a few shots of an excellent scottish whisky. We had dinner at Albert's place, with Alice and we enjoyed their company so much that we were not back on the boat until midnight.

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