Sunday, April 8, 2012

Diminishing returns

Left Lucaya Waterway on Saturday with 179 miles to go. We actually did only 155, thanks to the Gulf Stream in an uneventful passage. We got there early in the morning to top up the fuel tank, tie up at the Cape Canaveral marina, not without having fist to be subjected to third degree questioning by a Customs/Border Security agent, searching the boat with a dog, etc...., and then clear immigration and customs with the help of Gary. We then spent a wonderful time with Gary and Dolores, both being just back from a week of tourism in Saint Augustine where we are headed.
The weather was still near perfect, so we went outside, this time only for 111 miles to Saint Augustine. There we met with
Tom and Sarah, and h
ad dinner at a place that Gary had told us about, the Gypsy Cab Company and I would highly recommend anyone visiting Saint Augustine to visit that place. Wonderful food, unusual menu, everything great.
Next morning, the weather was still looking very good, and we went outside, headed to an anchorage in the waterway north of Fernandina Beach. This time, it was only for 64 miles. What was not planned was that as we were entering the St Marys river inlet the motor overheated and I had to sail in against the light wind but with the tide pushing me in.
Once anchored outside the city marina, an investigation of the problem showed a blocked strainer, filled with algae, and an impeller that had lost all its blades.
It is common knowledge that I am by no means a mechanic, but with the help of Tom
and Sarah who drove all the way from Jacksonville to bring me two impellers, and of Michael Monteith who coached me on the phone, I replaces the impeller, cleaned the strainer, back washed the heat exchanger, topped up the coolant, and eventually had the engine working properly by 2:00 p.m. the next day.
This time, we had to stay inside, with the threats of severe thunderstorms and a strong cold front coming in. But by late afternoon, we were at Jeckyll Island Harbour marina and tied up there with 25 knots of wind pushing us towards the dock. After settling in, we went to the restaurant and had a very pleasant dinner with a couple of cruisers who are relocating in Annapolis. That day we only did 27 miles but we felt that we had accomplished a good day's work.
Next destination was a place called Cattle Pen Creek which looked good on paper. However, it's a very narrow creek and after we had the anchor settled, we found ourselves aground on the side. Not that it mattered much. We did not feel a thing and Papy Jovial stayed upright all night and everything was fine until early in the morning we you found the cockpit littered
with hundreds of small flies. Besides, the chain and anchor with covered with that lovely black sticky mud so common in the waterway. Anyway, we got under way early and got to Savannah at 2 p.m. There we
were entertained byPatrick who took us wherever we needed to go to do some shopping and get some parts for the boat, then took us for dinner to the place rated at the best restaurant in Savannah, i.e. Cha Bella. To make is even better, Albert and Alice managed to join us and this was again a memorable brotherhood evening.
We left Savannah (Thunderbolt Marina) early the next day as I wanted to get to Beaufort early enough to do the Horse Drawn Carriage tour. And we did . We arrived shortly after 1 p.m. and we got immediately on the tour. I had already done it, but I knew Karen would enjoy it and she did. After the tour, I went back to the boat to try and take care of a fresh water leak and I half solved the problem. For the other half, I have to remove a bronze fitting and I am afraid to break something. So I will wait until I am near a place where I can get mistakes taken care of.
Then from Beaufort, I was hoping to make the infamous Whapoo bridge by 4.00 p.m. (it is closed from 4 to 6:30 p.m.) and may be go through the Ben Sawyer bridge. But the tide made it impossible and we chose to make the 6:30 opening and go to the City Marina in Charleston so that we would be passed the Whapoo bridge. However, The Ben Sawyer bridge is also restricted, and we will have to wait for the 9:00 o' clock opening and make Georgetown early enough to enjoy it. We shall see . . . . .

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