Tossed the Lines: February 11 2015
The rental car has been returned so the last minute fresh fruit and veg run was done by walking across the bridge to the Publix supermarket. The center of the bridge provides a great, bird's eye view along the ICW from the ocean to the center of St Augustine. I take my camera along in the hopes of being eye-to-eye with a soaring pelican. Additionally, there is a nice boardwalk trail along the water's edge complete with viewing stations.
Holy cow – it was a sprint to the finish; including a full day of windlass re-assembly…and a mad dash to First Mate Yacht Services for a tube of life-caulk mid-assembly, “Run fast, Erin, before this kicks and hardens.” (Feb 9). Thankfully, everything was back together and there were no “extra” bolts or screws. The anchor was back aboard thanks to a purring windlass - we were knackered and, clearly, our fatigue showed. As we closed up for the day we got a knock on the hull from neighbors on m/v Anastasia (Michael and Steve). They saw how hard we were working and offered a dinner of pizza and cocktails…pizza delivered from the marina piazalo – Vinny. Perfect - it is great to have friends nearby to help with our equilibrium. We unwound aboard Anastasia and shared more stories and plans for the winter. Hope to see you guys down the road!
The day before departure was spent policing tools and materials as well as stowing food and provisions (Feb 11). There was a ton of work completed but most visitors to the boat won't notice because it's under floor panels and behind observation ports. But that's okay because we will know and will feel even more confident about the functioning of the boat. We marked the end of our work drudgery with a sunset dinner at Cap’s on the Water thanks to the use of the marina courtesy car.
Departure was blissfully uneventful on a calm, crisp morning (Feb 11). We passed through the Bridge of Lions bridge opening and were off to the Marine Supply and Oil Company for a fuel top-up. We are on a first name basis with these guys (Ray and Ben and on and on) after numerous visits for parts and supplies throughout our various projects. This supply store caters primarily to professional fishermen so the “store” is more of a warehouse…and the fuel dock is a scene out of Deadliest Catch (one of Erin’s favorite shows). Offshore conditions were not good so many fisherman had stayed in port. This meant we needed to raft-up to an 80 foot longline fishing boat, Sea Hawk. Sea Hawk, incidentally, was rafted to another boat and many others were ahead and behind us. It was a fisherman’s parking lot. Erin loved the industrial feel of it and was positively giddy as she scampered across the two boats and into the office to pay. Price was right at $2.71 per gallon. Off we went with full water tanks, full fuel and a full larder. Yippee!
We did not go far the first night and stopped on the side of the road at Terrapin Crossing. Current was strong in this river-like spot but the anchor stuck and we were out of the marina and on the move south. A funny thing happened just after the anchor went down The Customs and Immigration go-fast boat came alongside and asked why we were anchored amongst derelict boats…the views were better five miles down at Matanzas?! We mentioned seeing them at Camachee Cove and said we were happy to be where we were – anchor down and out of a marina. No problem they said and were off. Sundowners on the top deck felt great! And we even spotted a rocket launch from Cape Canaveral further south – cool. Dinner was a new recipe but a big hit – Chicken Enchilada Meatloaf.
We moved along the next few days with hops along the Florida ICW in quiet anchorages: Rockhouse Creek with its views to the ocean breakers (Feb 12); Titusville with its open flats and fishermen tossing lights off the boardwalk as they fished in the night (Feb 13); and Melbourne where we met up with fellow globe girdlers Tom and Suzie (s/v Priscilla). We tied our dinghy to the back of docked Priscilla and picked up right where we left off (Feb 14). We wandered around Melbourne, talked about future cruising plans and capped off the day with a sunset view over the ICW and a grilled salmon dinner in their backyard. Wonderful to spend time with these guys.
The subtext to this visit ashore is that Chris and I took the dinghy off and back onto the boat…with the crane. It is a new process for us and we had not done it for three months…and that was only once. Eegads – just as we were feeling on top of new systems and new routines we had to dive into yet another new one. Geez, the crane and its metal cable winch makes a horrible bunch of creaks and snaps and jerks throughout the process. We took it slow and all went pretty well; however, we think a smaller dinghy is in our future.
(serves 4) Yvonne