Saturday, November 19, 2016

Florida at Last!

 Thursday, November 17

We once again got up very early in order to leave at first light in order to take maximum advantage of the tide.  It was initially against us on the St Mary's River, but once we passed the inlet, the incoming tide was behind us and gave us a boost to 8.1 kts speed over ground!  At this kind of current, there are all kinds of swirls, eddys, and side currents, and constant manual steering is required.  A few moments of inattention is all that's required to have the boat going in a completely different direction than you intended!

We passed by the closed Fernandina Beach Marina, and saw large plastic tapes strung across the face dock's pilings, with messages printed on them: "MARINA CLOSED", "FUEL DOCK CLOSED", "MOORINGS CLOSED".  There were also about a half dozen sailboats beached on the shores, and a pair of wooden masts from a sunken ketch sticking up in the middle of the mooring field.  Very sad.

An interesting thing happened about now, but we weren't made aware of it until later.  It turns out that one of my college buddies has been tracking us using the Marine Traffic web site that we send our position reports to, and he managed to use them to find out when we passed within range of a webcam on the Fernandina Hampton Inn, and got two pictures of us passing by!  Although grainy and low resoultion, you can resolve our distinctive black mast, the solar panels and wind generator above the stern, and even the dinghy stored on deck next to the mast!
Dolce Vita Caught on Webcam

Once again, as the sun climbed in the sky, things warmed up and we began to peel layers off until down to shortsleeves.  It's nice to be warm! :)

Along the way we encountered more dolphins, including one group of three the appeared to be a a family group, and a huge flock of white pelicans.
A Pod of Three Dolphins
Large Flock of White Pelicans
A short day's travel of 35 miles brought us to a marina called Beach Marine, just outside of Jacksonville.  They were hit pretty hard by Matthew, but were still operating.  Several of their finger docks were destroyed, as well as a large section of seawall.  Unfortunately, this meant that our slip ended up being directly in front of where they were using a vibrating pile driver to drive in new sections of corrugated seawall!  The noise was horrific, but they quit working within a half an hour of our arrival, so we had peace at last.  We re-encountered a canadian couple aboard s/v Needful Things, and shared a cab ride into town to get some supplies and groceries.  Later, we had them over for sundowners.

Tomorrow, we leave for St. Augustine.

1 comment:

  1. I sure hope you guys get to visit Fernandina Beach on your way back north, another favorite of mine :)