Friday, December 21, 2012

Ah, Florida. Mile Marker 965

You may wonder where we've been, fear not. We have fallen into the pattern of getting up just before sunrise, traveling with good weather, then crashing as soon as chores  are completed and we have tomorrow's float plan filled out. This has been a long run of mostly good luck, until we reached our current slip in Ft. Pierce at Harbor Town Marina.  

In the last two weeks we have stopped at Dataw Island, Sea Pines in Hilton Head Isle of Hope and then we anchored in New Teakettle Creek. After a simple anchor set and preparing for a rainy night, our generator failed again. The resolution to this reoccurring problem awaits us in Miami where a serviceman will work with us to get us island hopping and anchor setting again.

In the meantime we moved on to Florida with several one day slogs and stays in Fernandiina, St. Augustine, Titusville, Datona Beach, Melbourne, and, now, Fort Stewart. We had planned some routine maintenance this morning but with 25-30 knot gusts we cancelled the plan, stayed at the dock, and enjoyed the sunshine and quiet as this cold front blows itself out. No complaints here, it has been in the high 70s, low 80s and the drop to 60 something today is almost welcome. We have finally put the foul weather back in the closet, retrieved some shorts and located the sunscreen.

Our adventure has been a testament to good planning. Rick has managed to maximize each day's bridge travels and tides and we have docked at reasonable times so we could do some walking and sightseeing. We even got to the beach in Hilton Head but we're so out of practice, we only lasted two hours, but it was great! Then  we successfully crossed the inlets of Georgia (Susan's least favorites) and we even had plenty of water for that stretch of the ICW. We have had our share of rain, but our enclosure makes rain a minimal issue. It has been a little challenging watching the winds build up here. Our location matches where we were at this late last year! For now we have hunkered down like everyone else. Tomorrow we'll make a long run to West Palm Beach where we'll stay for Christmas, departing after the next cold front. The weather is not trustworthy more than 24-48 hours out, but we do watch the trends.

Rick particularly likes this part of Florida. Dolphins rode with him yesterday in our starboard side wake for over an hour. We see them daily and don't take them for granted. In Titusville we watched a manetee come up under a dock to enjoy the air conditioning discharge from another Catalina. We would like to see more manatees, but the fact they can stay protected and out of sight is probably better. As we travel south now, we will see more of them in the warm waters near Boca and points below, but then they are a hazard to us. They tend to pop up and boaters are responsible to not hit them. Pelicans dominate the waters here in Florida and we pass rookeries every day. We watch fish eating birds feed and dive in the water with lots of sun sparkle to highlight the waterway, lots to keep us watching with appreciation for nature.

There have been a few hold-your-breath moments here in Florida. Rick maintains that the bridge boards reading 62-64 on the arched bridges don't represent the height in the middle of the bridge. Hence we slowly slid under several bridges reading that low with success, only clinking on one bridge so far and it read 64'. Remember that 64' mast is our blessing and curse.

Live Oaks, Spanish Moss and Christmas
Historic Isle of Hope, SC
We wish everyone the best holidays can offer, time with family and peace all year. We'll be thinking of you!