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     Monday, February 8, 2010
    8 a.m.  Depart Ft. Legacy Marina/Ft. Myers, FL  M135
    1 p.m.  Arrive Port Labelle Marina/Port LaBelle, FL     M100
    Distance travelled:  35 miles
    Weather:  L=42, H=73; beautiful sunny weather, glassy water

    After 2 months (plus a few days) at Ft. Myers, FL, we are back on the blue highway heading across central Florida to the east coast.  The weather is absolutely perfect today for boating.  We found this section of the Okeechobee Waterway from Ft. Myers to Port LaBelle to be a very peaceful, beautiful area.  As we travelled along the waterway we saw many orange groves, some cattle, and greenhouses; definitely an agricultural area. As we continued eastward, homes and private docks appeared along the waterway.  
    About 6 miles up the Okeechobee from Fort Myers, this lift bridge was already open.

    Here is an example of the orange groves along the side of the Calusahatchee portion of the Okeechobee waterway.

    Today we passed through the Franklin Lock, our first lock since leaving the Tennessee-Tombigbee River system.  This lock was much smaller with a much smaller lift than we had experienced in TN.  We were only lifted about 3 feet.  The method of locking is also quite different.  Once in the lock, you grab a line from the lock wall at the bow and one at the stern and cleat if off tightly.  The lock door is opened only about 2 ft. and the water streams through until the level is equal on both sides, then the doors are opened, you release the ropes and away you go.  
    Approaching Franklin Lock

    Here you can see the water pouring in through the open upstream gates.  We are held in place by the ropes available on the sides of the lock.

    After arriving at Port LaBelle and settling in, we took a walk around the area.  This is a very quiet marina with few boats.  On our walk we saw one of the alligators, the small one, that we had seen when we drove by car to LaBelle back in January.  I wonder the big one was?

    Tuesday, February 9, 2010
    7:55 a.m.       Depart Port LaBelle Marina/Port LaBelle, FL     M100
    12:30 p.m.      Arrive Roland Martin's Marina/Clewiston, FL     M  65
    Distance travelled:  35 miles
    Weather:  L=53; H=78; beautiful weather until about 11 a.m.; winds picked up with gusts to 32 mph at one point; very windy but sunny for the remainder of the day

    After leaving the foliage-lined river-like section of the Okeechobee Waterway we travelled through straight stretches with high banks on each side. We saw an alligator swimming across the river but could not get a photo as he went under the water as we got closer. There was still evidence of some agricultural activity (cows in open fields along the dikes).  There were a few small but nice marinas here and there along the way. In the distance we could see 2 plumes of smoke which were coming from sugar cane fields that were being burned. We then approached the Okeechobee Canal section which was a more barren section with a high spoil along our starboard side and on the port side the scenery was marsh-like with tall grasses and burned tree trunks interspersed throughout.  There were birds of all types in these marshy areas.  This scenery continued to our destination in Clewiston.  We travelled through 2 more locks - the Ortona Lock and the Moore Haven Lock.  Now we are at the Lake Okeechobee water level.  Although we had high winds our approach to the Roland Martin Marina and docking went fine as it is a little bit protected and docking is along a face dock which is much easier that trying to maneuver into a boat slip.  After docking, we went for a short walk towards town.  Clewiston bills itself as the "Sweetest Town in America" due to its role in sugar cane production. Later in the day a catamaran named Moonstruck arrived with Doug and Judy Jordan aboard.  Tonight, Ken & Brenda, Bill & Nancie, and Doug & Judy went to the Clewiston Inn for dinner.  This Inn was built in the 1930s and is now owned by one of the sugar companies.  The Everglades Lounge inside the Inn has a mural that covers all four walls; it depicts the flora and fauna of the Everglades.  The mural was painted by the outdoor artist, Clinton Shepherd, and a few years ago the mural was appraised at $40,000.
    Brenda, Nancy and Judy at the Clewiston Inn.

    Our new friends Doug and Judy Jordan, who arrived at the Roland Marting marina on their new boat Moonstruck, a lovely PDQ catamaran.

    Wednesday, February 10, 2010
    Roland Martin's Marina/Clewiston, FL
    Weather:  L=53, H=67; windy but sunny all day; wind gusts to 22 mph

    Due to the high winds we decided to stay for 1 more day at this marina.  We are hoping the winds will subside  by tomorrow so that we can cross the Okeechobee Lake.  Today the only excitement was a 2-mile walk into the town of Clewiston and assisting 2 boats with docking when they arrived.

    This is perhaps the answer to the ever increasing fuel prices.  Docked right behind us at the marina.

Thursday, February 11, 2010
7:50 a.m.       Depart Roland Martin's Marina/Clewiston, FL     M65
12 noon Arrive Indiantown Marina/Indiantown, FL M29.5
Distance Travelled:  35.5 miles
Weather:  L=37, H=70; cool but sunny with blue skies and some wispy white clouds; windy with gusts to 27 mph, but mostly 17-22 mph

Because the winds were predicted to be 10 to 15 mph we decided today was the day to cross Lake Okeechobee which is about a 25-mile run in open, exposed water.  Naturally, the winds were much stronger than predicted (as you can see above).  We bounced around a good deal and had to hold on whenever walking around on the boat.  However, we were never in danger; just not an ideal crossing.  Because this lake is quite shallow, it can get rough if the winds are high.  The shallowest water we saw was approximately 8 feet; mostly we saw depths of 10 to 12 feet in the channel.  We estimate that the waves were 2 to 4 feet in height.  When we got across the lake we went through the Port Mayaca Lock (the easiest so far as there was no change in water level and we just drove through it) and into the calm and protected inland waters.  

Here we are entering the channel leaving Clewiston that leads into the open Lake Okeechobee.

Here are Bill and Nancy in Wautaga and Ben and Rosita following us out  into Lake Okeechobee.

Here we are now out into the lake, and as you can see, Okeechobee is a BIGd lake.  Like being at sea, and the waves were fair sized.

This picture of Sweet Time and Wautaga behind us show that the seas are significant.

Now we are in the St. Lucie Canal section of the Okeechobee Waterway.  About 1 hour later we arrived at Indiantown Marina in Indiantown, FL.  There are several Canadian boaters at this marina.  Although they cannot be seen from the marina, we have learned that Indiantown is situated in the midst of large citrus groves.  

Here is the little harbor at Indiantown.  We are at the left, and you can just see our bow peeking out furthest into the harbor.  It took a little finagling to back into these fairly small slips.

This satellite picture (from out SPOT locator) shows our slip which is labelled with the orange #1.  We are about the same size as the boat at the upper right end of the row we are on.

The first known inhabitants in Indiantown were the Georgia-born Seminole Indians. After getting established at the marina, Nancie and Brenda walked approximately 1 mile to the small downtown.  We visited the Seminole Inn, a historic site.  The Seminole Inn was built in 1926 by Davies Warfield, a Baltimore financier who was building a railroad from central Florida to West Palm Beach.  Among those who attended the opening of the Inn was Warfield's niece, Wallis, who later married Edward the deposed King of England, and became the Duchess of Windsor.

Friday, February 12, 2010
Indiantown Marina/Indiantown, FL
Weather: L=46, H=72; sunny in the morning, increasing clouds in the afternoon with the wind picking up and gusts to 20 mph but mostly 12-15 mph; heavy rain from 4:30 to 7 p.m.

Because a front was forecast to move through and the weekend weather did not sound great, we have decided to stay at this marina until Sunday.  This was a day to clean inside the boat.  Tonight we went to a local restaurant for pizza.  Because it was raining, the restaurant sent a truck to pick us up and then return us back to the boat afterward.   

Saturday, February 12, 2010
Indiantown Marina/Indiantown, FL
Weather: L=45, H=53; cold and windy all day but sunny

Since arriving at this marina there has been a big alligator who appears on the shoreline at the far end of the marina.  The "alligator man" has been trying to capture it but apparently the alligator seems to know when he is nearby and he escapes into the water before he can be captured.  There is a much smaller alligator who sometimes appears on the shoreline just a short distance from the large one.  

This fellow has attitude and his own personal sunbathing spot.  Nobody argues with him here.

This marina has a huge 'do it yourself' work yard and storage area.  When walking amongst the boat on the hard we noticed boats from various states, Canada, and even one from Japan.  Every Saturday night this marina sponsors a cookout and any boaters who wish to participate bring a dish to share.  Tim, the self-designated cook and Jim (from Nova Scotia) cut the firewood and built a fire in a huge outdoor grill.  Tim grilled 4 large pork roasts which were delicious.  At our table were Pat & Richard from Winnipeg, Ken & Brenda, Bill & Nancie, Klaus from Pickering, Ontario, and Jody & Steve from Melbourne, Australia.

Sunday, February 14, 2010
8:15 a.m.       Depart Indiantown Marina/Indiantown, FL M29.5
12 Noon Arrive Harborage Marina/Stuart, FL              M  6.5
Distance travelled: 23 miles
Weather:        L=37; H=60; sunny

This was a good day on the blue highway.  There were a few other boats on the waterway, mostly travelling west while we were going east. We went through the St. Lucie Lock, being locked down this time.  There was a manatee in the lock with us.  After arriving at Harborage Marina we were visited by Chuck Berry.  Chuck and Pat used to live in Knoxville but now live full time aboard their boat 'Got The Fever' and winter here at Harborage Marina.  They are good friends of Ben & Sharon Birdwell who introduced us approximately 2 years ago. They invited us to their boat and were kind enough to take the time to review the charts of Florida and Georgia with us.  

Monday, February 15, 2010
Harborage Marina/Stuart, FL
Weather: L=47, H=73; sunny with some wind later in the day

We launched our dinghy and went across the St. Lucie River to the city docks and then walked around old town Stuart.  In the afternoon, Pat Berry took Brenda to a local produce stand, smoke house (fish), and Publix, the grocery store.  Ben & Sharon Birdwell arrived around 4 p.m. and stayed overnight on Tellico Lady.  Pat & Chuck took us all to a local restaurant for the best barbecued ribs and we were not disappointed.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Harborage Marina/Stuart, FL
Weather: L=50, H=61; sunny but windy and cool

Brenda, Ben & Sharon drove over to Hutchinson Island to visit the last remaining House of Refuge, a national historic landmark.  Back when Florida had only about 300 inhabitants, approximately 10 of these structures were built along the east coast to assist ships and sailors who wrecked and washed ashore. Ken stayed on the boat to download some programs to Sharon's computer and to wait for 'The M.S. POOP'.  This is a small boat that comes to your boat to pump out the septic system.  You place a phone request the day before and then wait for his arrival the next day.  After lunch, Ben & Sharon drove back to their boat at Port LaBelle.  We enjoyed their visit with us and were sorry to see them leave.

This must have looked might good to shipwrecked mariners in the late 1800's.  Victualed and with caretaker to help.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010
8:15 a.m.       Depart Harborage Marina/Stuart, FL         Okeechobee ICW  Mile 6.5
12 noon Arrive Fort Pierce City Marina/Fort Pierce, FL          AICW  Mile 965
Distance travelled:  29.5 miles
Weather: L=41, H=62; cool and windy but sunny

Today we finished the Okeechobee Waterway section of the ICW and began our journey north on the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (AICW) which we shall be on for several weeks as we head north.  We met about 8 boats heading south and there were about 6 boats including us heading north.  We got to our destination before the winds got too brisk.  Ken did an excellent job of backing Tellico Lady into our slip - a lot of the marinas in Florida require what is known as Mediterranean docking where you back between pilings, which is very tricky and especially on a windy day or if there is a current.  We spent the remainder of the day doing laundry and computer activities.  We will wait at this marina for Bill & Nancie (Watauga) who will come here from North Palm Beach.  They left the marina at Stuart 2 days before us so to get some service work performed on their boat.  We are missing them and will be happy to have our boating buddies back with us.

Here is the view out of the Fort Pierce City Marina.

Here is the slip that we had to back in to.  There is not enough room to turn around in front of it, so we backed through the marina.

Thursday, February 18, 2010
Fort Pierce City Marina/Fort Pierce, FL
Weather:  L=46, H=65; sunny but a cool wind

It was a quiet day.  This morning we explored the city of Fort Pierce. Like most down towns it has office buildings but some very nice shops and boutiques and several restaurants.  This afternoon, Ken washed the boat while Brenda finished the laundry and went for another walk.  Tonight was biker night in town, which means motorcyclists come to the downtown to visit bars and restaurants.  We walked to that portion of town - it was not too busy so we came back to the marina and had dinner at Cobb's Landing, a restaurant right next to the marina.

Perhaps this is the end for a flower child when he hits the "Golden Years"?

For me, this is a better way to go.  Just rest your tired feet on this snazzy bench for a while and recharge.

Friday, February 19, 2010
Fort Pierce City Marina/Fort Pierce FL
Weather: L=41, H=62; sunny with some clouds and very little wind

Bill & Nancie (Watauga) arrived today.  After having dinner on Tellico Lady we went to the music fest held in the park beside the marina. It was fun people watching and in particular watching the little kids dance and especially one little boy, who was about 6 or 7 years old, who had legs like ropes and stole the show.

Saturday, February 20, 2010
Fort Pierce City Marina/Fort Pierce, FL
Weather:  L=53, H=70, beautiful sunny day

We went to the farmers' market and craft fair located at the park near the marina.  In the afternoon we were visited by Peter and Susan Hampson who are from Hamilton, Ontario but are renting a condo here for the winter.  Peter came by our boat the day we arrived and chatted with Ken.  We, along with Bill & Nancie, went to Yianni's Greek Restaurant for dinner.  Tomorrow we plan to travel to Melbourne, FL.

Sunday, February 21, 2010
7:50 a.m.       Depart Fort Pierce City Marina/Fort Pierce, FL  M965
1:30 p.m.       Arrive Melbourne Harbor Marina/Melbourne, FL    M917
Distance Travelled:  48 miles
Weather:  L=53, H=77; sunny, beautiful day

We had a great travel day - sunny and no wind. We continued our travel on the Indian River portion of the ICW.  Again, it is imperative to stay in the middle of the channel to avoid shallow water.  We saw a grounded sailboat along the way.  Although the channel itself is relatively narrow, the ICW is quite wide in this section.  On one side is the Florida mainland and on the other are barrier islands with the Atlantic Ocean beyond that.  Even the dolphins enjoyed today's weather; we saw several playing and rolling around in the water around our boat. After arriving at Melbourne, Nancie and Brenda went walking to explore the downtown.  

This is the Irish pub type restaurant that sells the 18-cent soup and some delicious pub-type food.  Photo thanks to our resident photographer par excellance, Bill Rogers.

For dinner we walked to Meg O'Malley's, an Irish pub.  This restaurant is noted for its 18-cent cup of Irish Parliament bean soup; we tried and it was delicious and it was the best 18 cents we have ever spent - come to think of it, what can be purchased for 18 cents?

Monday, February 22, 2010
Melbourne Harbor Marina/Melbourne, FL
Weather: L=59, H=77; day started sunny with clouds later in the day and a very brief period of rain

Brenda & Nancie walked approximately 2-1/2 miles while Ken & Bill did engine work.  While walking downtown we noticed a tree completely covered in white blossoms.  Could spring be just around the corner?  Later we charted our course for travel to Titusville tomorrow and then made plans for our travel to Charleston, SC.   

Once again thanks to our resident photographer Bill, here is perhaps the first harbinger of spring.  We really want to believe this!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010
9:00 a.m.       Depart Melbourne Harbor Marina/Melbourne, FL    AICW Mile 917
1:45 p.m.       Arrive Titusville Municipal Marina/Titusville, FL             AICW  Mile787.3
Distance travelled:  38.7 miles
Weather: L=64, H=77; fog until 8:45, cloudy all morning, sunny afternoon

Due to fog we could not depart at 7:30 as we had planned.  We are still travelling on the Indian River portion of the ICW.  

As you can see, it is very important to stay in the channel.  Not all sections are so obviously shallow as this, but easily represent the potential for grounding due to inattention.

Soon after leaving Melbourne we had Merritt Island on our starboard side as we headed north. This island is the home of NASA's Kennedy Space Center, which we plan to visit tomorrow.  We could see the NASA building in the distance as we sailed up the ICW.  

This building is easily seen from 20 or more miles away.  Seemed to travel with us as we proceeded up the Indian River.

After arriving at the marina our boat neighbours, Doug and Beth invited us to their boat for happy hour.  Also invited were Bill & Nancie, Jim & Paula (docked here for some time) and Bill & Kathleen (loopers on boat Tucandu).  We have rented a car and after our happy hour visit, the four of us went grocery shopping.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Titusville Municipal Marina/Titusville, FL
Weather: L=57, H=76; rain in late a.m., then sunny with some clouds, heavy rain around 4 p.m., some wind and much cooler

We went to the Kennedy Space Center and thoroughly enjoyed it.  We saw buildings and structures associated with the NASA space program including the Apollo/Saturn V Center, Vehicle Assembly Building, launch pads, crawler transporter, and crawlerway.  Our guide pointed out the building that currently houses the Endeavour shuttle which just returned from space a few days ago.  We saw an excellent IMAX presentation of space station astronauts and a typical day of work at the space station.

Here is a picture of the shuttle "Explorer", a very interesting display to tour.

 A very touching display at the space center was the monument to astronauts who lost their lives in the name of space exploration.

This plaque is a reminder that many dedicated people lost their lives in the pursuit of mastering space travel.

 Tonight we had dinner at the world famous Dixie Crossroads Seafood Restaurant, famous for their rock shrimp, and they were excellent.  Rock shrimp have a texture and flavour of lobster.  They live and spawn in warm deep water, 120 to 240 feet.

Thursday, February 25, 2010
Titusville Municipal Marina/Titusville, FL
Weather:  L=39, H=57; cool, windy, sunny with blue sky

It seems like winter has returned.  It was cold and windy all day but it was sunny.  Nancie & Brenda went shopping while Ken & Bill did some engine work on Watauga.  Loopers, Nancy & Ross Hiner (Oddysea) arrived at this marina today and will also be travelling to Daytona tomorrow.  Bill & Nancie invited us to their boat for dinner and then we played Tripoly with them.

Here is our next door neighbor boat with Beth and Pirate having a nice civil conversation.  Pirate is gorgeous, but has a little streak of mischief in him, I'd say.

Friday, February 26, 2010
7:45 a.m.       Depart Titusville Municipal Marina/Titusville, FL     AICW  Mile 878.3
1:45 p.m.       Arrive Halifax Harbor Marina/Daytona Beach, FL  M830.7
Distance travelled:  47.6 miles
Weather: L=37, H=60; sunny, cold, windy

We travelled more of the Indian River, then through the Haulover Canal, into the Mosquito Lagoon, and then the Halifax River, all part of the ICW.  Mosquito Lagoon was an area between the mainland and a jumble of small islands with backwater marshes and mangroves.  This section of the ICW is not as wide as the Indian River section.  There were many fish camps, RV camps, and a few homes along the way.  There were crab pots galore but mostly out of the channel.  Speaking of channel, it was again very necessary to pay attention to the buoys and stay in the middle of the channel.  Dolphins were plentiful and we were entertained by them as they jumped and played around us.  After docking at the marina we washed the outside of the boat.

Here we are about to enter the Haulover Canal to get to Mosquito Lagoon.

Looks like these guys have found the ultimate stable anchorage.  Just let the boat sit on the bottom.

Saturday, February 27, 2010
Halifax Harbor Marina/Daytona Beach, FL
Weather: L=43, H=49; cool, rained until about 2 p.m., but remained cold and windy

Brenda & Nancie walked to the farmer's market at 8 a.m.  Almost everyone there was wearing rain gear or winter clothing.  It was a small market but we got our fresh vegetables and headed back to our boats before it got too rainy.  

Our ever cheerful travelling partner Nancie at the morning farmers market snapped by Brenda, her co-shopper.

This is bikers' week at Daytona Beach and we could hear them in the distance, over on the Atlantic side of the town.  We spent most of the afternoon planning our travel to St. Augustine with particular attention to the Matanzas River/inlet area where severe shoaling is taking place.  Tonight Ken & Brenda, Bill & Nancie, and Ross & Nancy Hiner (Oddysea), loopers we met at Titusville, walked to the nearby Chart House for dinner.

This is our dinner at the Chart House restaurant.  Very enjoyable meal with our fellow Loopers Ross and Nancy. 

Sunday, February 28, 2010
9:20 a.m.       Depart Halifax Harbor Marina/Daytona Beach, FL  AICW Mile 830.7
1:30 p.m.       Arrive Palm Coast Marina/Palm Coast, FL         AICW Mile 803
Distance travelled:  27.7 miles
Weather:  L=39, H=64; sunny but cold and windy with gusts to 27 mph; less windy and warmer towards late afternoon

Since we did not have far to travel today and did not need to worry about tides, we did not need to leave as early.  Just a narrow strip of land separated the ICW from the Atlantic Ocean during today's travel.  The waterway was narrow and there were many crab pots just outside the channel.  We went through a marsh land area but as we got closer to Palm Coast there were many homes with private docks jutting out into the water on both sides of the ICW.  We saw many pelicans and hawks (we think they were hawks) but only 2 dolphins.  There were few boats on the water and Watauga and Tellico Lady were the only boats heading north.  This afternoon the wind died down considerably and even though the temperature only got as high as 64 it felt warmer in the direct sunlight.  The marina is a small one right off the ICW but it is a very nice one.  We walked about 1/2 mile to a development called the European Village and it really was similar to one with many shops and restaurants with apartments above surrounding a central courtyard.  To take advantage of high tides we will be leaving early tomorrow morning and heading to St. Augustine.

Tellico Lady (third from left) and Watauga (far right) suddenly don't look very big in this kind of company.

Here is a picture of the European Village that we visited near the Palm Coast Marina that we stayed at.

Monday, March 1, 2010
7 a.m.          Depart Palm Coast Marina/Palm Coast, FL         AICW Mile 803
10:30 a.m.      Arrive Camachee Cove Marina/St. Augustine, FL   AICW Mile 775.7
Distance travelled:  27.3 miles
Weather:   L=41, H=71; sunny- and no wind!

As planned, we were off at 7 a.m. to take advantage of high tide to get through the Matanzas River/inlet problem area.  The shallowest water we saw was approximately 8.9 feet, so our plan worked.  Because we left early and did not have far to go we arrived at our marina mid morning at mid ebb tide so the current coming into the marina was not a problem.  This is a very nice marina and we are glad that we chose it.  Once again we have shared the cost of a rental car as we plan to be here for one week. In the afternoon, Ken & Bill worked removing an injector pump from Watauga.  Brenda & Nancie drove to the beach (Atlantic Ocean) and then drove around the downtown to familiarize ourselves with it.  We can't wait to explore this historic city.  Tomorrow Ken & Bill are going to take the injector pump to Ocala for repair.  Since we plan to be at this marina for 1 week we will not update our website on a daily basis.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Camachee Cove/St. Augustine, FL
Weather: L=54, H=71; stormed during the night with early morning rain, then sunny with increasing clouds and wind later in the day with gusts to 37 mph

Ken & Bill drove to Ocala to deliver Watauga's injection pump for repair.  Brenda & Nancie used the courtesy car to go shopping at the outlet mall and then to get groceries. The remainder of the day was spent doing domestic chores.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Camachee Cove/St. Augustine, FL
Weather: L=43, H=57; windy in a.m.

We drove to Vilano Beach and toured the area by car; this area has a lot of homes from the 1950s era.  We had pizza at Benito's. Tonight we went to old town and walked around old St. Augustine;  it has many narrow, brick streets with old buildings that have been turned into many shops and restaurants.  We walked by old grave sites (1790s), Flagler College, Lightner Museum, old Spanish quarter, just to name a few places.

Brenda strolling down one of the narrow alleys in Old Town section of St. Augustine.

Here is Brenda at the old city gates of St. Augustine.

Thursday, March 4, 2010
Camachee Cove/St. Augustine, FL
Weather: L=35, H=57

We returned to the historic downtown to visit Castillo de San Carlos. St. Augustine was founded by Pedro Menendez de Aviles who was sent to Florida by Spain.  It is the oldest permanent European settlement in the continental U.S.  Shortly after coming to St. Augustine, Menendez was instructed by Spain to build a fort to protect the city and to protect Spain's interests in the area.  The resulting fort was Castillo de San Marcos which we toured today.  It was built of coquina (tiny seashells crushed and mixed with sand to form a type of concrete).  We learned that although it was attacked many times during colonial warfare, it was never defeated.  It was designated a national monument in 1924.

The perimieter of the Castillo de San Carlos had some pretty impressive defenses.  Worth reading up on.
This is wht the riflemen would stand in for protection while they picked off the enemy.

Friday, March 5, 2010
Camachee Cove/St. Augustine, FL
Weather: L=37, H=54

Brenda & Nancie (and Stella, the dog) went back to the beach to walk and to collect more seashells while Ken & Bill installed the repaired injection pump on Watauga.

Saturday, March 6, 2010
Camachee Cove/St. Augustine, FL
Weather: L=36, H=55; sunny but still cool

Back to the historic downtown.  We visited the oldest drugstore complete with its very old stock of medications and paraphernalia.  We once again walked past Flagler College which originally was a grand old hotel built by William Flagler, a millionaire in his day.  He decided to develop St. Augustine into a winter retreat for the northern rich.  Flager College was a hotel called The Ponce de Leon, the grand and greatest Gilded Age structure in St. Augustine.  To this end he built 2 other hotels.  One of them was the Alcazar Hotel which is now the Lightner Museum which we visited today.  Otto Lightner, a publisher from Chicago, acquired the vacant hotel which fell upon hard times after the crash of 1929.  He purchased the property in 1946 to house his extensive collection of Victoriana and gilded age artifacts and opened it as a museum.  It is an excellent museum with displays from America's gilded age exhibited on the museum's 3 floors.  The splendor of the hotel itself is evident throughout.  The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  At lunchtime we met Bill & Nancie at O.C. White's, a downtown restaurant housed in a structure built in 1790.

Here is the beautiful Flagler College.

This is the Lightner Museum.  It is truly a wonderful place to visit.

Sunday, March 7, 2010
Camachee Cove/St. Augustine, FL
Weather: L=39, H=60; sunny but still on the cool side

Since we plan to move on to Jacksonville Beach tomorrow, we spent some time studying the charts and charting our course for the next several days.  Today 2 boats we had seen before came into the marina.  One was Masquerade, a boat from Toronto, that we had seen at Fort Myers.  The other was Sandpiper who did the gulf crossing the same night we did and we all arrived at Clearwater around the same time.

Monday, March 8, 2010
8:40 a.m.       Depart Camachee Cove/St. Augustine, FL AICW  Mile 775.7
12:30 p.m.      Arrive Beach Marine/Jacksonville Beach, FL      AICW Mile 747
Distance travelled:     28.7 miles
Weather: L=45, H=71; sunny but breeze still cool

We travelled on the Tolomato River section of the ICW.  There was more boat traffic in both directions than we usually see.  We saw a lot more crab pots (and often in the channel) and fishing boats. We went through marshy areas and saw fewer palm trees but more pine trees.  The last 10 miles was through a dredged canal known as the Palm Valley Cut.  There were many homes with accompanying docks lining this section.  It was a beautiful day on the blue highway.  We arrived at our marina early and took a walk around the area.  We ate dinner at Billy's Boathouse Grill, a family run restaurant on the marina grounds.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010
8:50 a.m.       Depart Beach Marine/Jacksonville, FL                    AICW Mile 747
12:30 p.m.      Arrive Fernandina Habor Marina/Fernandina, FL   AICW Mile 716
Distance travelled:     31 miles
Weather:        L=48, H=71; sunny with increasing clouds, cooler in late afternoon

We had no problems crossing the St. John's River or the Nassau Sound.  Even on a rising tide we saw some "skinny" water along Sisters Creek and Sawpit Creek, and in fact, we had our first grounding in Sawpit Creek.  In an attempt to avoid a crab pot, we grounded, despite being still between the red and green markers.  However, we were able to back off easily and carry on.  Needless to say, we were glad to reach our destination marina.  The marina is right downtown in Fernandina.  We walked around the town for about 2 hours before returning to the boat to do emails and other chores.  Tonight with Bill & Nancie we had dinner at Pablos, a Mexican restaurant.  We plan to stay at this marina for 3 days until the next weather front passes through.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Fernandina Harbor Marina/Fernandina Beach, FL
Weather: L=50, H=73; sunny, becoming windier & cooler in the late afternoon

After lunch at the Happy Tomato, we visited the Museum of History.  This museum is housed in what was the county jail. Although small, the museum provided an excellent display and history of the events, people, and industries that shaped Amelia Island.  We then walked through part of the historic district where we saw some of the buildings described at the museum.  Several big boats came into this marina as the weather is supposed to be less than favorable tonight.

Thanks  to photographer extrordinaire Bill Rogers, this and the next picture give you a feeling for downtown Fernandina.

As you can see, the buildings are really lovely and have been well preserved.  A delightful town.

Thursday, March 11, 2010
Fernandina Harbor/Fernandina, FL
Weather: L=62, H=64; rainy most of the day, windy with gusts to 20 mph

Due to the weather, we stayed another day at this marina.  Nancie & Brenda went by taxi to a grocery store.

This photo thanks to Bill Rogers.  We met this gentleman when he arrived with his big friendly Newfoundland.  He is a really salty sailor whom we later passed in our next segment.  Very nice knowledgeable fellow.

Friday, March 12, 2010
10 a.m. Depart Fernandina, FL               AICW  Mile 716
3 p.m.        Arrive Brunswick Landing, Brunswick, GA         AICW Mile 680 + 5
Distance travelled:  41 miles
Weather: L=57, H=59; cloudy & misty most of the day

Because of deteriorating weather we decided not to anchor at Cumberland Island tonight but carry on to Brunswick, GA.  We departed a bit later so that we could take advantage of the tide to go through Jekyll Creek which is a shallow area of the ICW.  We passed through Cumberland Sound and then along Cumberland Island which is home to about 150 feral horses.  Even in the dismal weather we were able to see a few of the wild horses along the beach area.  By the time we got to St. Andrews Sound the weather was more misty and windy and we had a bit of a rough passage but we made it to our marina with little trouble, just a bit misty and cloudy.  Around 5 p.m. another boat arrived.  On board were Ben Birdwell and Mike Arundt.  Ben is assisting Mike with the transport of his boat to LaBelle Marina in Florida.  We all went to a restaurant, 4th of May, across from the marina.

As you cross the sounds leading to the open ocean, you meet some serious sized tugs.  This is one of two that was on the way out to meet a ship in St. Andrews Sound.

Here are some of the famous wild horses on Cumberland Island.  The horses on Cumberland Island may have similar ancestors to the Chincoteague/Assateague ponies, which are thought to have been either shipwrecked or abandoned there by Spanish explorers in the 1500s.

Saturday, March 13, and Sunday, March 14, 2010
Brunswick Landing Marina/Brunswick, GA
Weather:  Sat. L=54, H=67;   then Sun. L=46, H=60;  windy with gusts to 30 mph

On Saturday we walked about the town.  This town is laid out in squares in the same manner as Savannah, GA.  It turns out both towns were designed by General James Oglethorpe.  The downtown has many Victorian style commercial buildings and is gradually trying to revitalize itself.  There are some small shops and several restaurants. On Saturday there was a fairly large farmer's market plus yard sale at the park. On Saturday night there was a St. Patrick's Day parade which we attended.  However, due to the cool windy weather, there were few participants in the parade and even fewer spectators.  We are still at the marina, today (Sunday) because the winds refuse to lay down.  We will be here tomorrow for the same reason.  We hope to move on to an anchorage on Tuesday so will not update our website for a few days.  We have learned not to make plans that are too firm as the weather can quickly change everything.

It is easy to see why the seafood is so good here in Brunswick.

Monday, March 15, 2010
Brunswick Landing/Brunswick, GA
Weather: L=47, H=64; windy with gusts to 24 mph, cool

We walked into town and had lunch at Fox's Pizza.  While in town, Brenda went into an antique store and finally found the book "Death of a President" which she has been looking for since starting the trip.  She has looked in every town and had no luck until now.  This was a wonderful find.  Hopefully the winds will lay down overnight so we can travel on.  Our original plan was to stay here 1 night and here it is 4 days later.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010
7:30 a.m.     Depart Brunswick Landing/Brunswick, GA      AICW   Mile 680+5
12 noon       Arrive anchorage Duplin River/Sapelo Island, GA M650+2
Distance travelled:     37 miles
Weather:  L=45, H=62; sunny but cool

Whew!  We made it through Little Mud River which is known to be the worst area for shoaling along the ICW in Georgia.  We left as soon as it was daylight and managed to pass through Little Mud River 1 hour and 15 minutes after high tide.  The lowest depth we saw was 9.5 feet with mostly depths of 13+ feet.  We are glad to have this section behind us, as with the 7 to 8 foot tides, you can do the math and see that at low tide there would not have been enough depth for our draft of 5 feet.  Today, we went through St. Simons Sound, Mackay River (saw 2 dolphins), Buttermilk Sound,  Altamaha Sound, Little Mud River, Doboy Sound, and finally our anchorage at Duplin River which has Sapelo Island on one side and Little Sapelo Island on the other side.  Throughout history Sapelo Island has been occupied by wealthy individuals including R.J. Reynolds (tobacco magnate).  Today the island is owned by the state of Georgia and is home to the University of Georgia Marine Institute.  Visitation to the island is by ferry from the mainland.  Private pleasure craft are not permitted to dock.  Having said that, Bill and Nancie dinghied their dog, Stella, to their docks and were allowed to come ashore.  Today there was a breakthrough with Miss Molly.  She came to the main salon and got on the back of the couch and watched the seagulls flying behind us.

Miss Molly contemplating what she would do if she could get her paws on those seagulls.

Watauga at anchor in Duplin River anchorage.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010
8 a.m.          Departed Duplin River Anchorage               AICW  Mile 650+2
12:30           Arrived Sunbury Crab Co./Midway, GA     AICW Mile 620+7
Distance travelled:     39 miles
Weather:  L=52, H=54; beautiful calm morning with rain starting early afternnoon

We dodged many crab pots on all of the waterway we travelled.  We crossed through Doboy Sound, Creighton Narrows, Sapelo Sound, Johnson Creek, into St. Catherines Sound and up Medway River to our marina.  Bill & Nancie decided to continue on to Thunderbolt where we will meet them tomorrow.  Most of today's passages were narrow and with few channel markers.  Again, we had lots of practice using ranges to keep us in the middle of the channel.  Sapelo Sound was quite choppy.  Our marina is quite quaint but very charming with wonderful staff.  We enjoyed fresh flounder at their restaurant tonight.  Most of the ICW through Georgia is through marsh land so you literally are travelling through waterways surrounded by tall grass and today was no exception.  It looks strange to see a boat travelling through grass!

On our way to Sunbury Crab Co. you can see that it looks like Bill and Nancy are sailing though deep grass. 

The crab dinners are collected by Clay about 30 minutes before the restaurant opens.

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