Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Palm Coast FL

Saturday morning the winds were picking up from the northeast.  The anchorage we were in is not well protected from the NE so we decided to move.  First we had to catch a bridge opening.  Just past the bridge and at the other end of the mooring field is what is called the south anchorage.  We moved down there, picked a spot and anchored.  Looking at the depth and the tides told us we made a questionable decision.  We had four-plus feet below the keel but the tide table said there was a five foot tide variation.  We would be real close to being aground at low tide.  Looking at our options we decided it was maybe time to move on.  We had about 25 miles to get to Palm Coast but the charts showed an anchorage down by the Matanzas Inlet.  Off we went.  It turned out that the boat in front of us had the same idea and all we had to do is follow them.  Once they set their anchor we chose our spot and dropped anchor also.  There is a fair amount of current being this close to the inlet but our trusty Rocna anchor bit in and held.

This is a change from St. Augustine where we were anchored in the middle of town.  We can see some high rise apartments in the distance but we are in the middle of a National Monument with nature all around us.  In 1742 the Spanish built a small fort here and in 1924 it became a National Monument along with 300 acres surrounding it.  It is managed by the National Park Services.  It has been reconstructed and is open to tours with a free shuttle ride provided by the Park Service.

We settled in for the rest of the day keeping an eye on the tide and current changes to be sure we did not drag.  After a quiet night and a lazy morning we took the dinghy to the visitors center to learn about the fort and take the ride over for a tour.  The tour isn't much, they offer a short video and then a short commentary when you get off the shuttle boat and then you are off on your own.  It is a small outpost, usually manned by one officer, four infantrymen and two gunners so it doesn't take long to see everything.  There are even two of the original guns that were left there when the Spanish abandoned the fort in 1819.

After that we went back to the boat and attempted to watch the Nascar race, which if you are into Nascar you know was delayed by rain and not broadcast on television.

After another quiet night we needed to move on.  We had reserved a slip at the Palm Coast Marina starting on Monday.  A couple of hours later we pulled into the marina, tied up, plugged in and connected the free cable television.  We now have hundreds of station with nothing to watch just like everyone else.  While here we are working on a couple of projects and then on Friday we will leave for South Dakota for Thanksgiving with Cori's family.

There are more photos in the photo gallery.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Hanging out in St. Augustine FL

We have been here a week now.  We have been doing a combination of tourist stuff and just hanging out.  So far we have done the trolley tour, toured the old fort, taken the cruisers shuttle for shopping and walked around the Old City.  We had a recommendation to eat at Mojo's BBQ so on Sunday we went there to celebrate Cori's birthday.  We found out Bill Wier from Red Canary was in town working on his boat so he joined us for dinner.  Fabulous food, we went back another evening for a light dinner is was so good.  We were told where we could go by dinghy to tie up and walk to Home Depot and others stores so we have made that trip several times along with a trip across the inlet to Vilano Beach and the Publix store for more provisions.  Cori is busy with sorting and organizing which gave me an opportunity to tour the fort.  A lot of history there and it was free with my National Park Senior pass..  We still haven't made it to the lighthouse yet, but that may happen this afternoon.

The photo is from our friends Al and Michelle on Kindred Spirit.  As they were coming into the harbor in the fog the first boat they saw was Hi Flite.  They anchored near us and invited us over happy hour.  We were also flagged down on one one of our trips to shore by Shay and Elizabeth on Escape.  They are from Morehead City and we have mutual friends Vic and Gigi.  They lead the way on the excursion to Vilano Beach.  We have plans to meet up with both boats again after we cross over to the Abacos.  We will stay here until Monday when we will move down to Palm Coast to tie Hi Flite to a dock and we head off for Thanksgiving in SD.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

St Augustine FL

We arrived in St Augustine FL Friday morning.  We left Matthews Point Marina at about 9:30 Tuesday morning.  It was rainy and cool but not as cold as last year.  We stopped at Morehead City Yacht Basin to top off fuel then motored out Beaufort Inlet and turned southwest and raised the sails.  We were greeted by some dolphins while at the Yacht Basin and we always take that as a sign of good luck.  The winds were out of the northeast so we were able to sail.  About 5:00 am the winds dropped and we had to start motoring.  We motored and sailed off and on during the rest of the trip.  The final count of motor hours showed that we were able to sail almost 50% of the time.  This saved us a lot of fuel and when we arrived in St Augustine we had only used half of an 80 gallon tank.  By Thursday the weather had cleared and we had partly cloudy to clear skied for the last days with the last night clear with the brightest stars I have seen in a long time.  Several times during the trip we were visited with dolphins coming to play in our bow wave.  Cori caught four fish but two were not a kind that are worth eating and the other two got off the hook before she could get them aboard.  Good thing we brought a lot of food.

Thursday morning we heard another boat hail us.  It was Joe on "Time in a Bottle" another Pearson 424.  We had met Joe several years ago in Oriental.  We didn't see any other boats or ships until we were south of Charleston and nothing ever came close to us.

We arrived at St Augustine just after sunrise and motored in the inlet and dropped anchor just off from the old fort.  We spent the rest of the day straightening out the boat, getting organised (Cori) and taking a nap (Dale).  Saturday morning we launched the dinghy and went to the marina to sign in and pay the fee for the use of the facilities.  After showers we spent the day sightseeing in the Old City.  Back at the boat now we are relaxing and getting caught up with emails and other computer related stuff since we are able to access the marinas WiFi.

Highlights of the trip: being out without having to worry about traffic and other boats.  The waves on Tuesday night glowing with phosphorescence as they broke around us.  Two nights of traveling under sail instead of motoring. Clear skies Thursday night with numerous shooting stars.  Catching and almost landing several Mahi Mahi.

We are planning to stay here for several days then move down to Palm Coast to leave the boat at a marina over Thanksgiving.  We will be joining Cori's family in Spearfish SD for Thanksgiving.  Once we are back we will continue south and wait for a weather window to cross over to the Bahamas.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Getting ready

It is "deja vu all over again".  A year ago we were going through the same steps getting ready for our first trip to the Bahamas.  This time we have a better idea of what we will need and not need but it is still a big project.  We have bought our provisions and got them stored away, sorted and taken off the cloths we will not need and are in the process of finding storage space for everything else.  The outboard motors and diesel engine have been serviced.  Now we are waiting for the weather to cooperate.  Today it is raining and and a cold front is moving through the area.  Depending on how fast the front moves we should be able to start our trip in the next couple of days.

Our plan is to make our way down the ICW to Beaufort Inlet and follow the coast to St. Augustine FL.  That may not be possible but there are a number of inlets where we can come in if things don't go as we wish.  We are hoping for good winds so we can sail but if we have to we can motor for most of the trip.

Wish us luck.