10 - 11 April 2008
Tilloo Cay, Abaco, Bahamas
Trip: 13nm, Total: 2029nm, Engine: 1682hrs
My trip through the Abacos was pretty quick. It went something like this:
My run through the Abacos
I left Little Harbor at the south end of the the Sea of Abaco at about 1100 hrs. High tide was to be at noon so I had plenty of water to get out the channel at eleven. The channel carries only 3.5-ft at MLW so you have to plan your arrivals and departures accordingly. And since there are only a few mooring balls inside, you really should wait until some the boats inside have left before you venture in. Just give yourself enough time to make a turn through the harbor and, if needed, get back out before the water level drops too much.
As I prepped Galena for departure Bob and Chris (m/v Leap of Faith) dinghied over to say, 'goodbye.' So sweet of them. Remember that they had come over and helped me tie up when I arrived here. I had only seen them a couple of times on shore and would have liked to see them more. I was looking forward to seeing them again up-island, but it never happened. From what little I saw of them, they appeared to be my kind of people. Maybe next year our paths will cross again.
s/v Stella Polaris left about 1030 and were a mile or so ahead of me as I left Little Harbor. We were both motorsailing into a moderate breeze. After about six miles, as I passed the North Bar Channel inlet, I cut off the engine and just sailed. The swells coming in were high and caused confused seas near the inlet. But once passed the inlet the Sea of Abaco was calm.
I took the 'short cut' where the chart shows 5.2-ft of water. But the tide was high so I figured, what the hell, why not? I saw only one spot where the water was down to 6.8-ft. Stella Polaris had a bit more trouble. They didn't go aground, but there saw some very shallow water. I think Tom drifted a bit to port while sailing through that stretch of water. I was talking to Joyce on the radio at the time and suddenly I heard him yelling in the background. She abrubtly said she had to go. I used to do that. I used to call all hands on deck whenever I was a bit stressed. But, really, what's Joyce going to do to help Tom drive the boat. He should know where the deeper water is, if any, and how to get there. I assume that Tom, like me, just wanted everyone else on board to be as involved and stressed as him. I understand. I still feel that way, too, but I try to hide it and take the responsibility for driving the boat.
As I tacked back and forth toward Tilloo Cay, Stella Polaris motorsailed north to Elbow Cay. There were about six boats anchored at Tilloo Cay when I arrived. I wanted to sail to the hook (a desire to 'do it right'... and show off a bit)but was not willing to risk it. The few boats there were spread out in such a way that I would have to round-up into the wind fairly close to a couple of them. With no engine running I would have be afraid of drifting into one of them before the hook set. So I motored the last few hundred feet. I had the hook down at 1500hrs. I found a free, open WiFi site (Coconut Telegraphs) and started working on the blog (That was the previous one, of course)
I did some boat projects today. I emptied the head and refilled it with the starter layer of peat moss. Unfortunately I did that in the boat. Dry peat moss is very dusty and I had brown dust everywhere for days after that. I'll always do this little task outside from now on. I had emptied it while crossing one of the inlets on the sail to here, Tilloo Cay.
I settled in for a very quiet night. The anchorage is well sheltered from the northeast winds and the water was calm. couldn't have asked for a better anchorage.
The night passed with nothing to disturb me and I didn't get up until 0800hrs for the morning cruiser's net. Afterwards I heard Stella Polaris calling everyone they knew (except me) and no one was answering. Joyce usually wants to know what everyone else has planned for the day so she can plan her's.
I went online and posted my blog and read my e-mail. I spent a lot of time online during the morning. Not much news from the home-front except that Captain Terry (s/v Scotch and Water) had had quadruple-bypass surgery. Bummer!
I heard s/v Moonlight Serenade saying that Man-of-War Cay was 'dry' as was Spanish Wells, in Eleuthera. No point going there, I guess.
s/v Sea Renity has a very nice hard dodger that they say came from Pro-trim.com. I checked it and couldn't find anything like what they had. But it gave me some good ideas for Galena.
I plan on sailing to Marsh Harbor tomorrow. I understand that it's a crowded, dirty little harbor. Sort of like the George Town, Exumas, of the Abacos. We'll see. One of those places you have to go at least once.
This was a very relaxing day at anchor. It was one of those days that cruising is all about. Sure, I love to see my friends. And sure I love to meet new people and party around. But I also love, just as much, quiet days alone on Galena. Just me. No distractions and no people. I lay around on deck reading and getting parts of me sunburned that should never see the light of day.
12 - 16 April 2008
Marsh Harbor, Abaco (N 26° 32.8' W 077° 03.4')
Trip: 14nm, Total: 2043nm, Engine: 1682hrs
I sailed over here from Tilloo Cay in a stiff breeze. Nothing interesting happened; just had a very nice, brisk, sail. The wind was really kicking up (18kts) when I turned into the harbor proper. So down sails and motored in looking for a place to drop the hook. I found a lot of room inside. anchoring was no problem at all.
I went to shore to find a phone and call home. I spent about 2 hours finding someplace that sells phone cards and a payphone that would use them. But there was no answer.
So I moved on to phase II: Beer. I went over to the Jib Room. I had dinner (steak-night) and met Steve. After a couple of hours of me telling him my sea stories and answering all his questions about sailing/cruising he told Maria, the bartender, to move my tab to his. I protested telling him I'd had dinner and a lot to drink and that the tab was probably close $75. He said it was the least he could to for a Vietnam Vet. So I let him.
While there I also talked with Jim from s/v Xanadu. He's totally cool. So is his lovely wife, of course. We had first met when I anchored near him in George Town, Exumas. He said it was so cool that I sailed up the harbor and into the anchorage.
I somehow made it back to Galena.
As I looked around the harbor on the 13th, I see a lot of boats I recognize. Not that I know all those people, but I've seen their boats in other harbors. I may know the people and simply not connect them with a boat.
I went out to Curly Tails bar for a beer and there bumped into Sarah and Bill (s/v Moonlight Serenade) and Michelle and Clark (s/v Seabbatical 1). Got a great reception from the girls and that always makes me feel special. Then Carolyn and Bill (s/v Worthless Wench) showed up. After a few drinks with everyone I went off with W.W. to drink in few other establishments while M.S. and S.1. went back to their boats. We ended up at Mango's and the three of us got way, way too drunk. But we drank some very nice tasting drinks!
After another great evening I made it back to Galena just before it started to rain. I slept soundly until 0730hrs. Well, more accurately: I passed out.
I walked the town and called Jane. I found the grocery store and bumped into Gail and Bob (s/v Star) there. I walked back to the harbor with them. I have really met the nicest people on this trip.
I spent the morning of the 14th recovering from the evening of the 13th. I actually ran out of water this morning. That makes about 55 gallons used in 30 days. Or about 2 gal/day. Not bad.
I went to make dinner only to find that bugs had invaded my supply of pasta. Anything that was not in a zip-lock bag was infested with strange little bugs. And a couple of the boxes of pasta that were in zip-lock bags that had rubbed through also had bugs. So I had to throw out a bunch of food and clean out that locker.
On the 15th it was very windy (20+ kts). So I went to shore and did laundry. I spent about $10 in quarters.
On the radio I heard Sarah (s/v Moonlight Serenade) complain about her dinghy being chained up. She actually wrote a song about it. It seems that, as before, M.S. and S.1. had used the dinghy dock at Boat Harbor Marina. But they didn't know they had to pay $20 each for the privilege. So when they got back to the dinks they found them chained up to the dock with big locks. They were told they had to pay the money or spend that much at the bar and show the receipts to the dockmaster to get their dinghies back. They were pissed. And by the time they had spent the money at the bar, they were also drunk. So that night on the radio there was a concert of sorts. Sarah can actually sing and the words were hilarious!
The wind on the night of the 15th was ridiculous reaching over 50kts. I had Galena anchored with the 33# CQR and 100-ft of 3/8" chain. She held fine; even though a 90° swing.
Michelle and Clark, s/v Seabbatical 1, drinks at the Boat Harbor Marina
On the 16th of April, Stella Polaris arrived in the harbor. I went over to visit and met their friends from Maryland, Larry and Barb. Worthless Wench stopped by for a visit, too. I went to Curly Tails to meet Moonlight Serenade and Seabbatical 1. Stella Polaris joined us. After everyone left I stayed on and met new friends.
17-20 April 2008
Motored directly to windward to get here from Marsh Harbor. Seabbatical 1 is anchored a bit east of me just below Orchid Bay. I'm all by myself here in I was invited to Seabbatical 1 for dinner. I had a great time there. Michelle made pork chops. And that girl can cook! Oh, and Clark grilled the chops; he can cook, too. It was nice to sit down and really get to know people that you have previously just partied with.
Fisher's Bay, Great Guana Cay, Abaco, Bahamas (N 26° 40.02' W 077° 07.21')
Trip: 9nm, Total: 2060, Engine: 1684hrs
On the 18th the gang was all here in Fisher's Bay. Seabbatical 1 moved up to be closer to everyone. Stella Polaris took a mooring ball inside of Orchid Bay (they don't like to lie to the hook if they don't have to). I think Star Shot is here, too.
Penny and George (s/v Star Shot) at Nippers
I'm starting to plan my run to Florida. This is one of the last places I want to visit in the Abacos and I'm looking at the weather trying to plan a move to Great Sale Cay to stage for a crossing.
We all went to Nipper's for drinks. There we met Gail and Mathew of s/v Alisios. We had seen them at George Town, Exuma.
Gail and Mathew of s/v Alisios at Nipper's
I walked on the beach with Sarah and Michelle. Joyce got a bit tipsy.
Nippers beach bar, Great Guana Cay, Abaco, Bahamas
I wanted to find pictures of the cruising babes I've been hanging out with and found these:
But when I looked for pictures of the guys they are with... well... I just couldn't find any good pictures.
My cruising buddies
Joyce spilled a rum punch on her skirt and after washing it in the restroom spent the rest of the evening all wet. Linda and Bill (s/v Joie de Vivre) were there and stopped by our little party. Oh, even though s/v Worthless Wench was gone (on their way to NC) I met a guy they had been telling me about: Big Dick.
Carolyn of W.W. had wanted to introduce us as, "Big Dick, this is the Manly-Man." When I heard his name I said, "Your the Big Dick? I'm the Manly Man!" He laughed and said he had heard all about me. We had a few beers and talked trash about mutual friends and places we've been.
The gang at Nipper's
When we left Nipper's we found a small (7') palm tree that someone had broken off. So we took it with us to Grabbers where we danced with it, gave it a drink and generally had a great time.
Big Dick along with Linda and Bill (s/v Jois de Vivre)
Sunset at Grabbers, Great Guana Cay, Abaco, Bahamas
We all rented a golf cart to tour the island and meet friends of Moonlight Serenade. Along the way we saw a guy with a submarine in his back yard. We stopped to talk with him about it. It's a home built affair.
And it's the third one he's built! His back yard is littered with toys he's built or is building.
Oh, he also built a helicopter that is lying in his backyard.
Home made submarine
And his home made helicopter
I dinghied out to a dinghy-drift and had a nice time. Then back to Grabbers for another beer or two.
Part of the dinghy drift raft-up
21-22 April 2008
Green Turtle Cay (N 26° 45.7' W 077° 20.1')
Trip: 15nm, Total: 2076nm, Engine: 1685hrs
I had a great sail here from Great Guana Cay. Seas were calm as I went through Whale Cut and then the wind picked up to about 15-20kts. The wind also clocked from south to southwest to west during the trip. We had a small rain shower just after I anchored. I'm now with Moonlight Serenade and Stella Polaris.
Black Sound, on Green Turtle Cay is a pleasant little settlement. One of the quaintest I've seen here.
View of the settlement at Green Turtle Cay
We hit a few of the bars on the island. Actually I think we hit three bars in three hours. I got a T-shirt from the marina and after all, isn't that all we really need from these places?
Oh, and when asking directions to the bar here, we were told to, "... turn left at the old jail."
We wondered what that might look like and how we might recognize it. As it turned out it was pretty obvious.
Below is a picture of the old jail. I'm not sure what the kid was doing sitting on the roof, but it made for a nice 'Kodak-Moment.'
And of course we found the bar.
The old Jail on Green Turtle Cay
And t hen we found another, just a block away.
The gang at bar #1 (Miss Emily's Blue Bee Bar)
As we dinghied toward our boats, we found another bar that just called out to us.
The gang at bar #2 (The Wrecking Tree Bar)
And bar #3 (Pineapples Bar)
23 April 2008
Allan's Cay (N 26° 59.3' W 077° 41.2')
Trip: 29nm, Total: 2109nm, Engine: 1691hrs
Allan's Cay is just a stop-over place to break up our run between Green Turtle Cay and Great Sale Cay. There's nothing here but a great anchorage with just about all-round protection. And there's room for quite a number of boats, too. We had 9 boats where I got here. Some of the boats here were flying the 'Q' flag which means they were just arriving from the States (or some other country). And while the seas and wind were a bit boisterous out on the Sea of Abaco, in here it's just flat and calm. Very nice place too stop.
Highly recommended if you want a stopping place to catch your breath.
Stella Polaris had a hard time today. They were almost here at Allan's Cay when they noticed that their fresh water tank plumbing had sprung a leak. They had absolutely no fresh water on board. Since there's no water source between here and the States, and since it would be foolish to head out across the Gulf Stream with no drinking water, they turned around and headed back to Spanish Cay. There they paid $50 for 100 gallons of water. They showed up here at Allan's late in the afternoon.
I went over to M.S. for dominoes and drinks and got home about 2300hrs.
Tomorrow it's Great Sale Cay and then on to Florida.
The weather window is holding and a lot of boats seem to be heading across in the next couple of days.
24 April 2008
Wonderful sail down here from Allan's Cay. The wind was 10-15kts mostly on the beam or just aft. Waves were about 3-ft on the beam. I averaged about 6.5 kts for the whole trip with a lot of over-7-kt sections.
Great Sale Cay (N 26° 58.9' W 078° 12.9')
Trip: 37nm, Total: 2146nm, Engine: 1692hrs
As Moonlight Serenade moved in to anchor, they broke their throttle cable. Not the thing to have happen when you're trying to maneuver a 50-ft boat in an anchorage. Later in the day, Tom (S.P.) went over and together with Bill he got the cable jerry-rigged to work well enough until they got to the States. There Bill had scheduled some maintenance days and this would be just one more item to work through.
was the 5th boat into this harbor when I arrived. There was lots of room so I moved way in to the NE corner and dropped the anchor in about 8-ft of water. But by 1830-hrs there were 21 boats here. Everyone must agree that we have a good weather window tomorrow for a crossing to Florida.
Stella Polaris and I were invited over to Moonlight Serenade. for dinner, birthday cake (the next day was Sarah's birthday), movies, and a route planning session. Also, Brian and Beth (s/v Mango) dropped by. They were friends of M.S. And when I saw them, and they me, we recognized each other from George Town, Exumas. Beth was the one that convinced me to put my name on the mural at the Chat and Chill. She was also the one to suggest (coax me, actually) into writing my name on the painting itself. It was this over which I got into a bit of trouble with one of the cruisers with the "Home-Owners-Association-Mentallity." He was upset because I let my name go over the actually painting and didn't stay on the boarder, as directed. It was all Mango-Beth's fault.
Mango left during the movie. After they left, MS, SP, and I got down to some final planning for the upcoming crossing. M.S. and S.P. didn't like the 6' seas forecast for tomorrow. I didn't like the light winds forecast for day-after-tomorrow. So we decided to do our own thing. I was going to head out in the morning, they were going to stay for another day. My point was that it's too far to motor all the way. And the seas were only going to moderate from 6' down to 5'. I don't think I can tell the difference between the two. I figure you can't have good sailing wind without some waves to go along with it. And since it was going to be aft of the beam, what the hell.
25 April 2008
OMG! It's a Friday. There's an old mariner's superstition that one never begins a voyage on a Friday. Well, I'm leaving anyway. At 0700hrs I did the final prep of Galena for sea. At 0740 I raised the sails and then the anchor and sailed away... alone. This will be my first ocean passage completely alone. Cool!!!
Passage from Great Sale Cay, Abaco, to Port Canaveral, Florida
Sailing off the hook was, as usual, very cool. It sort of sets the tone for the voyage. Ahrrr. It's also a cool thing to do. So I can whenever I have room around me to sail out without endangering any other boats.
My run from Great Sale Cay, Abaco, to Port Canaveral
26 April 2008
I'm Back in the States! Customs came out to Galena for a visit. At first I was concerned. Not because I had anything to hide. But I've heard of these guys going through a boat and making a mess as they pulled everything out of lockers and drawers. But these guys were cool. They were a couple of ex-military guys and we just sat in the cockpit and talked trash for a while. They did consult their Geiger Counter a couple of times while we talked. And one guy said, "Since we're here, Bill, I really do have to inspect the boat." With that he went down the ladder and walked the six steps to the V-berth. Then back with, "OK. You're good to go." He also said as he went down that I had to keep him in sight at all times. Their policy was that they could not be 'alone' in a vessel at any time. It seems they get accused of stealing things and planting things whenever they get out of the owner's sight. So I stood on the ladder and watched him 'inspect' Galena. Then they left. I called Jane, and my daughter, Michelle. I sent some e-mails and received some, too. Good to be back in the ol' U.S. of A.
Cape Marina, Canaveral, Florida
Trip: 160nm, Total: 2306nm, Engine: 1700hrs
I had a beautiful sail out of Great Sale Cay, Abaco. I sailed off the hook and turned to the harbor exit. I had all sails up in calm seas making 6+ kts as I left the island. But as I moved out of the lee of the island, the seas picked up to about 3-ft. But, like the wind the waves were from aft of the beam so it was a comfortable ride. I got Harvey sorted out and he steered Galena well for the entire trip to Florida.
About 12 miles from the edge of the bank, I hit the ocean swells. I went into the deep water of the Atlantic at about 1700 hrs. The swells were just aft of the beam on the starboard side. The wind was just starboard of aft. So it was a good ride.
All night I noticed a slow clocking of the wind. As it went to east I had to point a little higher than I wanted. I was moving too far north too fast. I would overshoot Canaveral unless I turned more west. By dawn I was 3-nm north of the rhomb line.
After dawn the wind went to 5kts ESE. The swells were down to 4 to 5 feet. But the rocking caused the main and jib to backwind every few seconds. The banging and clanking drove me crazy. So with less than 20nm to go, I dropped sails and motored directly to Port Canaveral, FL.
I called Customs and they said they would call me back. And they did... just as I was approaching the fuel dock and Cape Marina! I had to tell them I'd call them back. I took a slip and bought a couple of beers at the ship's store. Then Customs showed up. After they left, I had another couple of beers and called it a night.
The next morning (27 Apr) I'm up at 0630 and called Moonlight Serenade on HF and got no response. So I tried VHF and there they were. I walked out to the fuel dock and caught their lines. Stella Polaris took a slip. But Tom and Joyce were so out-of-sorts after their crossing that I really didn't want to spend much time with them. They got even more upset when they found out they may have to take a taxi to the custom's office (it's a Sunday, you know?). So I went back to M.S. and, after they got some fuel, helped them cast off. They were headed for New Smyrna Beach where they have some friends.
I decided to leave, too. So I cast of with help from S.P. and made for Titusville, where Seabbatical 1 was getting put on the hard for the summer.
27-28 April 2008
Titusville, FL (ICW Mile 878)
Trip: 20, Total: 2327nm, Engine 1705hrs
I bumped bottom coming out of the locks at Canaveral. I was a little north of the channel and the sudden bumping on the bottom pointed that out to me. On the first bump I looked at the fathometer and saw 4.8 ft. That's bad when you draw 5 ft! I turned to port to get back into the channel. The small powerboat coming towards me had drifted to the north in the wind/current as had I. When I turned toward him he looked surprised. I tried to explain that I was going aground where I was. We passed a little too close for comfort but without incident. I was then trapped behind a pair of tugs moving a raft of dredging pipe. They were going about 3kts. When I finally could pass them, I kicked Galena up to about 3000 rpm and almost immediately the overheat alarm went off. I backed it down and it cooled off. At the normal cruise speed of 2800 rpm it was fine. I'll have to check the cooling system again.
I anchored north of the bridge at Titusville, right outside the marina. I then dinghied in to see Seabbatical 1. We sat around drinking beer and telling lies and then walked into town to get some food. We found most of the places closed, Sunday, remember? So we got a pizza and went back to Seabbatical 1. I got back to Galena about dusk.
The next day I did some chores around Galena and then went in to do laundry and spend some time with Seabbatical 1. We went out for dinner and had a great time. They were getting Seabbatical 1 ready to go on the hard. And they were getting ready to drive back to Canada for the summer. So after hugs and kisses goodbye, I went back to Galena.
The next morning, the 29th, I would head up to New Smyrna Beach to visit with Moonlight Serenade again.
29-30 April 2008
The overheating problem is really getting bad. I can't even keep it at the normal, econ-cruise speed of 2800 rpm now. And the wind and waves were not cooperating at all. I was making 4kts into a 20kt wind and 2.5-ft chop all day long. And the ICW here runs along the west side of a very wide sound. So the wind had a lot of fetch to make waves and no trees to block it. So the whole day sort of sucked from a 'boat-ride' standpoint. I still got to New Smyrna Beach at about 1400hrs. It took me about 1.5 hrs to find a place to anchor. I tried a couple of places north of the bridge and they were just too small or too shallow. I ended up south of the bridge along with a bunch of 'permanently moored' boats. I had to re-anchor once because I ended up too close to the channel.
New Smyrna Beach, FL
Trip: 31nm, Total: 2358nm, Engine: 1712hrs
I anchored South of the bridge and East of the channel. Another boat came in to the anchorage after I did. He didn't check the tide state (we were at +3ft) and his boat ended up lying on the bottom at low tide.
What happens when you don't check the state of the tide when you drop the hook
(No, that's not Galena)
I dinghied over to Moonlight Serenade (they were in a marina just north of the bridge) and we went to visit their local friends (they had the use of their friend's car which was cool). During the next couple of days I had the great good fortune to meet and get to know Joe and Ret Glasse. They had a very, very nice house on a canal. We sat around drinking excellent wine before we went off the a fish-house for dinner. The place reminded me of Harris Crab House back on Kent Narrows, in Maryland.
On the 30th I tackled the engine. I found a bit of oil on the engine pan under the raw water pump. Looked like it might have come from the front of the engine somewhere. But it was just a smudge. I'll have to look at where that came from later. I checked all the hoses and, when I pulled a hose from the front of the heat exchanger I found an impeller blade jammed in there. So I pulled the raw water pump and replaced the impeller. Fortunately only one blade was missing from the old impeller and I had found that blade. So I cleaned out all the tubes in the heat exchanger just for good measure.
I got cleaned up and went grocery shopping with Sarah and had a good time. We came back to M.S. and I dinghied my stuff out to Galena. A bit later, I changed clothes and went back to M.S. to join Bill and Sarah. We went back to Joe and Ret's house for dinner. We had a few more bottles of good wine and a fabulous dinner. Ret is a wonderful cook. Joe and I got into a heated political debate. But we parted friends (I hope).
The little surprise in the cooling system: an impeller blade stuck in the heat exchanger.
01-04 May 2008
The engine was overheating again. So I kept it below 2800 rpm all the way up here and it was happy.
St. Augustine, FL (ICW Mile 778)
Trip: 60nm, Total: 2422nm
I went over to the Trade winds Bar and had a drink. I was followed there by Bill and Sarah. I saw some people whom I had met on my way down. People like Fran (the crazy broad). And some Hispanic lady that I had danced with before. I was home by 0100hrs.
On the second of May I was up at 1000hrs and even that felt too early. I did some minor chores on board. Stella Polaris called on the phone and we talked a bit. They were in New Smyrna Beach.
The band at the Trade winds Bar
I went out on the town and walked through a few art galleries. I stopped by the Peter O'Neill Gallery and looked at a painting that I had been looking at for about a year. The lady said she'd give me a good deal: about 20% off. So, after talking with Jane about it, I bought it for $400. It's the first print I've ever bought. I mean, the first thing to hang on a wall that would not be considered a poster, you know? Here's a picture of the tear-strip that I had been carrying around in Galena all winter.
Picture of the picture "Making the First Move" by Peter O'Neill
On the third of May I went over to Dennis and Bettye's house for dinner. Nothing like home-cooked meals for a single handed sailor. We had a very pleasant evening talking over old times and getting to know each other again. I really like those guys. Dennis had torn a tendon in his knee and was hobbling around on crutches. Bettye showed me their new sailboat.
Dennis and Bettye at their house
After dinner I went over to Trade winds for a beer and not to my surprise met Moonlight Serenade there. We had another great evening of drinking and dancing.
On the 4th I met with M.S. and S.P. at the A1A Ale Works and talked about the trip from here to Fernandina Beach. Looks like tomorrow is a go for an offshore run.
Some sort of wedding party arrived and for a little while the A1A was very crowded. But after a while it was just Moonlight Serenade and myself.
A crowded night at the A1A Ale Works
Moonlight and Me at the A1A Ale Works (Bill and Sarah and myself)
05-06 May 2008
Fernandina Beach, FL
Trip: 60nm, Total: 2480nm, Engine: 1735hrs
Motorsailed most of the way here. I could sail the first hour or so, then the winds went very light. The seas were flat and there was a 0.5kt current against me. But at Jacksonville, the current changed and I had about 2kts with me. Cool!
As I turned to port into the St Mary Channel, I was swept way north by the current and ended up crabbing all the way down the channel. The wind picked up and I had a hard time getting the sails down while staying in the channel after I turned south toward Fernandina Beach. Stella Polaris called and they were a couple hours south, coming up the ICW. Moonlight Serenade was about an hour ahead of me and pulled into the marina. I, of course, anchored out.
Once we were all settled in, we all went into town and had a beer or two. I ended up at the Palace Saloon playing pool with Sarah and Joyce while Tom and Bill sat in the bar and watched the girl playing the guitar. When the pool games were over, we joined them. I sat there looking at Tom and Joyce, and Bill and Sarah. They were sitting along the wall. Quietly watching the entertainment. I had been having a great time playing pool with the girls. We were laughing and running around. Now they were just sitting there. Well that wasn't for me. I said goodbye and headed out the door. I had heard about another good bar down the street and went looking for it. I found it.
A few hours later I was back in Galena. It was only 0200hrs.
On the 6th the winds were up to about 15kts, north. Breakfast a little cafe with Stella Polaris and saw Moonlight Serenade just to say, 'Hi.'
I was going to get up and be on my way at dawn. So I went home early and sober. But at 0100 hrs I was awakened by a bump in the night.
Then another bump. I run up on deck to see a boat had drifted down on my and hitting Galena on her port side, forward. I called to the boat captain as I tried to put a fender between us. It was s/v Sadie C. They had anchored nearby and aft of me earlier in the day. But the tide shifted and now they were dragging down on me.
She was swinging on her anchor and each time she swung to her starboard she hit Galena on her port side. Four times before the captain came on deck. And then he didn't do anything but stand there. She hit Galena first on the port bow. Then on the port side amidships. Then on the port side stern. Then she squeezed my dinghy which was tide to my port quarter. Then, here comes the really bad part, she came at me and missed. She swung across my stern, just missing my Aries wind vane. But her anchor rode was now between the Aries wind vane servo rudder and Galena's rudder. So when Sadie C swung to her port, she took Galena's stern with her and crashed directly into the boomkin. She crushed the solar panel like it was so much tin foil. And she bent a stanchions on the stern pulpit like it was aluminum. Then she swung back to her starboard and fell back enough to be well astern of Galena. But the time I was dressed and ready to go talk to the guy, s/v Sadie C had come to a stop about 300 feet behind Galena. I went back and talked with her captain, Jack. I explained that he had dragged down on me. He looked around and agreed that he had indeed, moved quite a lot. I asked how much rode he had down. He said, 'About 80-feet.' And only 50-ft of that was chain! Well we were in 30-feet of water with at least a 2.5kt current flowing, and reversing every tide! I said I had out about 170-ft of chain. He thought that was excessive. But I didn't drag; he did. He wrote me a check for the solar panel. But I don't know what I'll do about the stern pulpit. Maybe nothing. It's a good reminder for me to watch where I anchor.
Galena's stern without one of her solar panels and with a damaged stern pulpit
Now it was 0300 and I was going to get up at 0500 to sail out by 0600. I couldn't get back to sleep and when I left for the 30-hr run to Charleston I was already sleepy with only 3-hrs of sleep the night before I left.
08-10 May 2008
Trip: 164nm, Total: 2640nm
I motorsailed for the first 10hrs out of Fernandina Beach. There was very little wind. And very small seas. Then I sailed all night making about 7.4 kts all the way. I dropped the Yankee Jib about 0100hrs just to slow Galena down and take some of the stress off her.
Moonlight Serenade left a couple hours behind me and passed me about 1700hrs. When they were about a mile back they said, "Hey, Bill. Why not take a nap for an hour or so and we'll watch your boat. If something happens we'll call you." So I put the radio on 18, and put the remote mike next to my head. I also set my egg timer in case something went wrong with the radio. I lay down on the deck for a little nap. I went to sleep right away and woke up an hour later. M.S. was about half a mile ahead of me. I called them and thanked them. They said, "OK, so we can speed up now?" They had slowed way down to keep close to me while I slept. They are so thoughtful.
After dawn the wind died to almost nothing. The seas, however were up to 6-ft. So with the main up to stabilize me, I motored. But the engine overheated again at only 2500 rpm! So I went below and spent an hour taking everything apart. I found nothing wrong anywhere. But when I put it all back together she ran at the normal 2800 rpm without complaining. In four hours I was anchored in Charleston harbor.
I went over to seen Moonlight Serenade and we partied a bit. I went home and slept soundly.
On the 9th of May, we went out with Brian and BJ (m/v Executive Suite). We had met them in the Exumas. They live in town. We went to their house and had a few drinks. They have a great home. Brian has the walls covered with nude art. But real art. It's all fantastic. We went out to dinner at their favorite night spot. The food was wonderful and the wine was probably the best I've ever had. Brian really knows his wine. He selected a suite of three bottles for us for dinner and they were a superb choice. This from a guy with tats all over his arms and four Harleys in his garage. He really surprised me. I like surprises like that.
After dinner we went down to the bar where we met some of their friends. They have the most beautiful friends. We reluctantly left and went back to our boats.
On the 10th I had dinner on M.S. and worked on Galena a bit.
The wind was up to 30-kts with tornados reported just a few miles away.
On the 11th we treated Brian and BJ to dinner. We went to another of their favorite places, and Indian restaurant. Again wonderful food and wine. We all went back to M.S. and taught Brian and BJ how to play dominoes.
12 May 2008
Trip: 58nm, Total: 2706nm, Engine: 1770 hrs
Both Moonlight Serenade and Galena went into Harborwalk Marina. I bought fuel again for the second time this year.
I left Georgetown, SC, at 0540hrs to make the Ben Sawyer Bridge before they closed it for rush hour (0700). I was there at 0640 but had to wait until 0650 when the wind died down to less than 30kts. Then they opened the bridge for me.
The trip up the ICW was, as usual, uneventful. I was moving pretty fast motorsailing with just a staysail up. I was fueled and docked before Moonlight Serenade made it into the harbor. I was there to catch their lines.
Sarah and I went on 'walkabout' looking for a grocery store but never found one. Then we went back and got Bill and the three of us went out to get a burger and a beer. After that we all went home and had a good night's rest.
13 May 2008
Anchored in an oxbow on the ICW just north of Bucksport (G-29)
We had a movie-night on M.S. I saw 'Chicago' for the first time and loved it.
As I left that oxbow I saw other boats still anchored in other oxbows
Shortly after that a speedboat and skier came around the bend.
Boat anchored in an oxbow off the ICW just north of Bucksport
Skier on a morning run up the ICW
The skier came by Galena fast
A few minutes later I rounded a bend and caught the morning sun.
And he wiped out spectacularly as he came abeam of Galena
Sunrise on the ICW
14 May 2008
South Harbor Marina, Southport, NC
Trip: 57nm, Total: 2788nm, Engine: 1787hrs
I've stayed at this marina a couple of times now. It's just south of the more popular Southport Marina and it's considerably smaller. They have a long bulkhead for transients, sort of like Coinjock. That makes for Easy in and Easy out. But it also makes for some wakes as fishing boats head out early in the morning or return in the late afternoon. And there isn't much right around here. But there is a small deli (with banker's hours: they close at 1400 hrs) and a very nice restaurant with a nice bar.
As soon as I was tied up and checked in I did laundry and had a shower. As I walked by the deli I tried the door; it was open. I went in and picked up a beer and went to the register. There was no one there. I walked about calling out and got no response. When I got to the rear entrance I could see it was locked. I guess they just forgot to lock the marina entrance. I considered just leaving money for the beer. But then thought that the next person in might take it. Also, I looked up and saw the security cameras... So I put the beer back and went back down the dock to find the dockmaster. I told him the store was unsecured. He called the owners of the building who said there was no number on file for the people running the deli. So it stayed open all night.
Moonlight Serenade and I went to the restaurant and had a very good, albeit expensive dinner. I got into a bit of an argument with Bill over politics (we have to avoid that subject in the future) but otherwise had another great evening with my friends.
Tomorrow I'll make it to Camp Lejeune (Mile Hammock Bay).
15 May 2008
Mile Hammock Bay, Camp Lejeune, NC
Trip: 57nm, Total: 2788nm, Engine: 1787hrs
As I left South Harbor Marina I heard two old friends on the radio: s/v Cariba and s/v Joie de Vivre. So I called Linda on s/v Joie de Vivre and chatted for a moment or two. Both boats were coming in the Cape Fear inlet after a night on the ocean. She was headed for South Harbor Marina for the day. She said she likes the bar there. Then Toby on Cariba called me to say 'Hi.' He was headed for Wrightsville Beach. It's so nice to know nice people. And the cruising community is full of nice people.
I had a quiet run up to Mile Hammock Bay. Absolutely nothing to report. See? This is getting to be the boring part of the trip. Even during the first trip up this part of "the ditch" I couldn't find much to talk about. It's just the monotony of standing at the helm, listening to the engine drone, checking the charts and grabbing the binoculars to confirm the daymark numbers so you know where you are. There is the occasional inlet or cross-channel. There one has to be a but cautious. It's sometimes easy to confuse the marks for the cross-channel with the marks for the ICW channel. If you do you could easily run aground. In fact, once in Beaufort I was talking with Nifty Nickers and was talking about a guy we heard on the radio. That guy had gone aground at just such a spot. He had seen a red buoy (marking the side channel) and thought it was part of the ICW. So he went around the 'wrong' side and, of course, went aground. I pointed out to Chuck that the ICW channel marks all have a little yellow triangle or square on them to identify them as being part of the ICW (triangles are always on your right when southbound) and that that side channel mark had no such mark. He said the guy was innocent and just that the intersection should be better marked. I asked how it could be better marked. He said he didn't know, but that it was confusing and it was the government's fault that the guy went aground. Well, some people like to blame the government for everything. Personally, I had no problem staying in the channel.
Not that I don't stray sometimes. I've twice this winter found myself following a channel that was not part of the ICW. The water starts to get a little thin and then I look closely at the daymarks or buoys and find that where I am, I'm not supposed to be. But in each case it was my own fault.
16 May 2008
I awoke at Mile Hammock Bay to light rain and a cold south wind blowing about 20kts. I was hook-up by 0630 hrs but had to slow way down to make the 0730 opening of the Onslow Beach Bridge. Once through the bridge I put up my staysail and motorsailed at over 6-kts all the way to Beaufort. At times I hit over 8-kts with the motor, wind, and current all pushing Galena along her way. Sort of like a horse heading for the barn, she just galloped along as quickly as she could.
Again a lot of the ICW along here is wide open and the chop can be fierce. Fortunately, the wind was behind me and the waves just made Galena yaw about.
Trip: 42nm, Total: 2885nm, Engine: 1806hrs
Once in Beaufort I dropped the hook in the anchorage. But once Galena settled in, I found myself a little too far north and in the channel that runs in front of Beaufort Docks. But, what the hell. I'll be out of here on Sunday, or Monday at the latest.
So, once everything settled down I headed to town to visit my favorite bookstore, Scuttlebutt. Then a couple of beers at my favorite bars. I really like this town.