Here we are in Georgia, almost to Ft McAllister. If you have read enough of these long winded posts, you know Ft McAllister is where we bought Yume in November 2013 and started this journey.
In Dec 2013, we left for the keys in Fl, then back past here to DC, then back past here to the Keys in Jan and now back past again heading for DC. And you are caught up! Or dizzy.
As I steered the boat for 10 hours today (well technically I have an autopilot but I have to watch and make the changes) I had a thought.
I wondered how you (the reader) wanted me to write. Then I wondered if it really mattered since I am the one who has to write after all.
But, I would be interested, if you are interested enough to respond, how you would prefer these posts.
Currently it seems I manage a post every couple of weeks.
Would you prefer shorter posts more often? Less pictures or more? Less words or more? Less videos or more? Less personal thoughts or more? What else?
What would it take for you to tell someone else to read this? And what would make it more enjoyable for you.
Just asking… Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or reply to this. Thanks.
We are three days north of St Augustine. First we went back to Fernadina Beach to drop the hook in afternoon thundershowers, then up to St Simons Island and Fort Frederica which was way cool.
Then today we had a very enjoyable day to Kilkenny Creek, Ga. The weather has been perfect. The bugs are certainly enjoying it.
We have had the fly swatter out for the first time ever slaughtering horse flies and tiny vicious biting flies. All of us are below at dinner time, with the screens in and swatter handy! Add in the fornicating love bugs that seem attracted to open mouths and it is much more comfortable below!
Last night we motored up a three mile side trip to drop the hook at Ft Frederica founded by Mr Ogelthorpe of Savannah Ga fame who sailed to England twice! to get money to build and arm a whole town against the Spanish hordes certain to attack from St Augustine. They did attack on 1742, and the greatly outnumbered English (4000-1000) simply waited until the Spanish stacked their muskets and proceeded to eat dinner to attack while hidden in the woods in the Battle of Bloody Swamp (so called as the swamp ran red with Spanish blood).
This is all that is left of the little fort, but the town (surrounded by a mile long earth berm is easily seen. It is a great place to see! The live oaks are amazing…
Obviously I love history and am greatly enjoying forcing this stuff on Ryan and Shelly!
We very much enjoyed our stay in St Augustine as well, although the mooring field by the Bridge of Lions can be rough, especially with the afternoon thunderstorms. None of the varnish work got done, but there is a great used sailing gear store where I got teak and parts to finally fix the rubrail, and electrical parts to split the house battery bank to try and figure out our usage issues. We seem to have a real problem using way too much power and way too much internet bandwidth.
Shelly and I explored a lot of the old town, taking a different route twice a day as we walked, or road bikes with Goose tagging along. This is another historical part of the U.S. and well worth the time to get off the tourist streets back into the old town itself. The old Ponce De Leon hotel built by Flagler for the rich way back when is now Flagler College and a beautiful structure to tour.
We ate lots of fresh shrimp and fish from the local boats too.
Ryan and Shannon had one more week together before we head back north. We enjoyed a pizza with her Dad the day before we left.
Tom had some good stories to tell as he is a marine biologist who works specifically with right whales.
We packed up the bikes in the dinghy, took once last sunset picture of a front coming through and we were underway again. Great feeling to be moving!
This morning we stopped in Altamaha Sound at the ocean to walk the deserted beach with Goose. We both keenly felt so grateful as we had just passed Broughton Island where we lost Goose for three days in January. Imagine the pain if we had to pass that island having not found him…
But we did and we are so appreciative of all the people who helped. (If you missed that story read it http://miamiphillips.com/sailing-life/how-the-town-of-darien-helped-find-a-lost-goose/)
And so it goes.
Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms who keep the world running!
Yume is back in Marathon Key, 40 miles east of Key West, on a mooring ball for a couple of months.
It’s great to be back here, where we are sort of known, and slow down a bit after 1250 miles from DC to here in about 45 days – including a 14 day yard break, and a ten day layover in HHI for Christmas. That is averaging 60 miles a day for 21 days! No wonder I crashed when we got here!
The trip from St Augustine to here seemed to fly. We had lots and lots of wind as cold fronts kept barrelling down from the north every other day. At one point somewhere around Melbourne we were seeing almost 40mph winds. That is a lot of wind on the water!
We stopped overnight in a marina in Palm Beach so Shelly could have a night out with her long time friends Sue and Kathy – and we fueled and did laundry while the wind blew some more.
The next day we jumped out of Lake Worth Inlet on an absolutely beautiful day and sailed south. 75% of all the bridges across the waterway are between Palm Beach and Miami so we wanted to get outside into the ocean and sail around them.
We passed the inlet to Miami Beach around 3 in the afternoon with a goal of Hurricane Harbor in Key Biscayne by sunset.
The wind had increased during the day and the seas were getting a bit uncomfortable as we passed our Key to the south to come back up into the channel. It was good to pull into the harbor just as the pink glow of the sunset winked out into darkness. We were out first light and back at sea with two days to go.
We grabbed a couple of little mackerel on the way which were delicious! Goose loves fresh fish…
Once south of Biscayne we were officially in the keys. The wind was still blowing pretty hard from the NE so as we turned more to the west as we started passing keys we came under the lee of the islands which made for a much more peaceful sail. Too peaceful in fact.
We were out in Hawk Channel after lunch. The sun was out, the wind behind us, and we were sailing along at hull speed with few boats in sight about three miles from land. I was in the cockpit alternately reading a book and looking around to watch for boats and our course.
I saw four or five Cormorants fly left to right directly in front of the boat. That in itself was very strange as those birds usually do not fly that high, and are usually long gone by the time we get to them.
Our foresail is cut way too low and I cannot see under it very well, so out in the ocean I get lazy and do not bend down to check.
There was a piling with a marker that I did not notice on the chart, and had not seen.
The birds were sitting on it and flew off just before the sail caught the marker.
3 miles out in the ocean and I hit a marker. Bummer.
The noise was enough to wake the dead and scared me so badly I was still shaking 15 minutes after it happened.
And it happened so fast it was all over in less than 10 seconds as we were moving through the water at about 9 mph with a 28,000 pound boat!
Apparently, the foresail caught the wooden marker on the piling, which pulled the sheets very tight that control the sail. The sheets are lines that are 3/4 inch in diameter and very strong. One of those snapped in half, then a section of the sail about 3 ft along the leech and foot simply ripped away. Later I found that the block the sheet runs through was also mangled pretty badly and must be replaced.
Right about then, the boat hit the piling on the port stainless rubrail, ripped a 3 foot section right off, and left another 3 feet sticking straight out.
All this happened in just a few seconds. And we were still under full sail downwind with the main and mizzen, and the Genoa flapping like crazy free as a bird. I am holding the torn end of the sail with one sheet left on it, looking back at the piling rushing away from us and noticed that the marker was in the water.
I was sick to my stomach, and Shelly and Ryan are now on deck thinking we are sinking…
End result is I am very fortunate that we didn’t hit the damn thing head on, or that we didn’t catch the rigging and bring the mast down, or something like that.
I have known for a year that sail had to be fixed and couldn’t figure out how to afford the changes. Well, that has been decided for me. And now we get to finally get rid of the last of the old canvas color. The new Genoa sun protection canvas is going to be a beautiful bright yellow! It still made me physically sick, as well as very upset with myself.
After all that fun, we pulled in behind Indian Key about 430 and picked up a mooring at the state park. While Ryan and Shelly took Goose in, I dropped and folded the foresail, and cleaned up the lines and mess from the piling, again realizing how lucky I was to just tear the sail and a little rub rail. It could have been so much worse!
We pulled into Marathon around 1 pm last Thursday to find a backlog of boats in the harbor. Many boats come here before jumping over to the Bahamas or further south in the Carribean. The weather had not cooperated and many were waiting for a weather window to leave.
It took three days for one of the 300 moorings to free up. It took us a little longer to shift attitudes from traveling mode to stationary.
So now we are playing softball three times a week, stopping into the Hurricane Restaurant across the street for the $2 Gunniess happy hour, and playing some music on Saturday nights at the Tiki Hut.
Shelly got into maintenance mode and the varnish is getting an uplift. We ordered new floors as Goose has used these up. And I am trying to figure out how to stop these last couple of very annoying oil leaks on the engine.
And of course we are working on the sail.
Friends have made noises about coming to visit – so we plan on staying until about the first of March, then turning the bow north again.
Maybe we can see you along the way?
HHI SC Sunset
Hilton Head Island, SC has been warm and sunny since we got here 3 days ago. We even dug out the shorts and flip flops!
Ryan has been back to the top of the mast with another video…
We are anchored at our spot off Palmetto Bay Marina, trying to get some web work done for clients and p4p, and making preparations to go west in a rental car to spend Christmas with Shelly’s mom in Marion NC. Ian is driving up from San Antonio Texas to be there, then he will drive us back here in his new truck.
The plan is to slowly make our way further south for about a week before he has to head to his next duty station in NC.
The two days on the waterway just before making Wrightsville were cold and windy, and saw us hard aground at one point.
There is a spot in the ICW along Camp Lejeunne where an inlet from the ocean has piled up a bar of sand right smack in the middle of the channel. It is marked, but I missed the marker, and ran hard up on the sand at about 6 mph.
As this is not the first time running a boat aground, (sooner or later if you boat you will run aground!) the crew was pretty well versed in what to do.
First you try to sail off by using the sails to heel the boat as far over as possible which both reduces the draft and powers the boat forward. That didn’t work, and since the tide was roaring out and dropping fast, we quickly dropped the dinghy, lowered an anchor into,it and carried the anchor out about 150 feet to deeper water. Then we use the windlass to haul in the anchor, while hauling in the sails and powering with the motor at the same time.
That worked. Whew! If not the next step would have been to take the halyard (which is used to haul sails up the mast) to the dinghy and pull the mast down which would help,heel the boat way over…
Back in deep water and heading full speed for the drawbridge that opens only on the hour, we look back and there is another boat coming behind us heading for the same spot! We tried calling on the radio to warn them, and even jumped up and down waving our arms. We watched them plow right into the same shallow spot and go hard aground!
Since the dinghy was already down, I turned the wheel over to Ryan and told him to make the bridge, keep going and I would catch up after I helped the new boat get off.
And this is what they did during the hour it took us to free the boat that was aground!
The trip since Wrightsville has been much more enjoyable. Once the weather changed a bit, and we found ourselves ahead of schedule, we slowed down a lot…
We stayed two days in Wrightsville Beach at a free dock at Dockside Marina. The first night we had a nice dinner with Kyria and Danielle from paws4people, and the next night with Jim and Pat Henry who,we like very much. They are also followers of the blog and had lots of questions about what they had read. It was very cool to know someone actually reads this stuff!
The sail from Wrightsville to Southport was only 25 miles and it flew by as we has a 25 knot following NE wind gusting to 30 with a outgoing tide with us all the way put the Cape Fear River. At one point Yume was traveling over the ground at over 10 knots which is screaming for us…
Southport offered another free dock in the town harbor. We love these old fishing towns with the really old houses built by sea captains and passed down in the family.mof course, with Goose we get to walk a lot (twice a day) and we take advantage of it to see as much as we can.
This was a cool Christmas yard display…
We stopped on the way to Charleston at a small private island, dropped an anchor and took Gooose for his morning walk along a deserted ocean beach, collecting shells and letting Goose run free for a change. It was most pleasant although still a bit chilly.
Later that morning we sailed into Charleston and dropped anchor between the Municipal Marina and the Coast Guard station. Shelly and I walked Goose that afternoon, and were amazed at how much we were annoyed by a “city”. It was noisy, crowded, congested, and we decided not to hang around a tour like we thought we wanted to.
Part of the problem was we had just come from a night in McClellanville, a very small old seaport on the ICW just north of Charleston.
This town had been founded as a plantation in the 1700’s, then slowly turned into a community of old historical houses with small lanes fully of very old live oaks full of Spanish Moss. There were old fat dogs running free everywhere, and we stopped into the seafood market to buy a fresh whole flounder for $4 a pound and two pounds of rest shrimp for $3.50 a pound. They were delicious. And so was the town.
We much prefer McClellanville to Charleston!
Someone wanted some privacy and was building this house out in the middle of nowhere. No neighborhood covenants here!
After a nine hour motor (no wind) we arrived at Beaufort, SC, anchored and walked Goose that evening, then again in the morning for a 3 mile hike to the nearest grocery store for a couple of things before taking off for the short 30 miles to Hilton Head. It was another absolutely beautiful morning.
This is the Ladies Island swing bridge at Beaufort. Beaufort is another one of those old historical towns that is well worth visiting!
In a couple of days we will rent a car for the drive to Marion for the holidays, then back to Yume and back on the road.
We are not sure where we are going to visit, but we are sure it will be interesting and really look forward to it!
All of us want to wish you a very joyous and loving Christmas and holiday!