Saturday, January 31, 2009

1st Year Charleston, SC to St. Lucie Inlet, FL 2009

January, 2009

Riley (brown dress) at her Christmas play

A GREAT couple of months in Charleston and no, the boat never left the dock! The weather stayed just too chilly for full enjoyment on the boat., but we still had a great time visiting with the kids and friends we'd met in the area.

Daughter Leslie & RobertE @ Christmas play

 Every trip off the boat along the dock, however, was an exercise in trying to stay warm...we would have the last boat slip at the very end.. BRRRR... A very long walk in the cold.

One night it was too terribly cold to bundle up all the kids we had on board - Movie Night for RobertE & Riley + two more.  Left them alone, piled in our bed all night. 
Grandson Pickett Lea

We completed another to trip to Clearwater to drop our car off  at our condo -- leaving it virtually forever til we stop cruising... We planned the drop to be in Clearwater in time for our other new grandchild, Pickett's christening. 

After visiting with friends and family, we rented a car for the drive back to Charleston and our departure for warmer southern cruising waters.
Daughter Lindsay, Son-in-law Walker & Pickett

Wednesday, January 13, 2009

Finally!  Finally Fun is again on her way, cruising south away from ICW Mile Miler 469.   The U-Line refrig & freezer were replaced this morning, after months of hassle and repairs and delays.  Guess what - -it STILL makes a wind tunnel sound that can keep one awake all night!  No difference after all that fighting with the company to get rid of the noise they all say should not be there.  I give up.  I hate the damn things.

Ashley & City Marinas in our wake

We pulled away from the dock at noon with sunny, but chilly weather and a horrific cold front on its way to the South.  No way can
Finally Fun go fast enough to beat the arctic blast.  Leaving Charleston and its’ lovely skyline of pastel houses and huge homes on the Battery in our wake, we ultimately made our way to the Dawhoe River at White Point, Mile Marker 495. 

Charleston homes along The Battery
This is marshland country, with woods of hummocks of trees and/or the moss covered oaks off in the distance.  It is so very pristine through here, with hardly anyone or anything in sight, except bird life.  
Looking for a free meal they won't get!

Blue herons are fishing everywhere and gulls must think we are a fishing trawler because they follow behind us – hoping to grab some missed catch or catch thrown overboard.  No boats -- all the smart boaters are ALREADY south for the winter! 
Low country & marshes
This White Point area is confusing, with green cans ahead we can’t find our way to…and shoaling everywhere.  After bumping aground several times and on a lowering tide, we gave up, turning back toward where we had come.  We picked our way carefully back UP the Wadmalaw River, seeking anchorage for the night and to await a rising tide before attempting this section again.  

In spite of the warnings of ‘don’t go there – shoaling and shallows in the entrance’  in the Waterway Guides, we entered Toogoodoo Creek with NO problems, dropped anchor in relief and slept like the two exhausted people we were… or at least I did.  Andy says he got up about 4 times to check the anchor.  In spite of his techno-wiz background and love of technology and in spite of spending a zillion bucks on OUR equipment, which includes the ability to set a GPS circle around the anchor that will alarm if we pull anchor, dragging outside of the imaginary circle --  he must have no faith.  He keeps checking the anchor.  Me, I must snore.  I remember my sailing days many years ago – no such thing as a fancy GPS that would alarm if the anchor began to drag and a puny anchor held to the boat only by line – no chain.  I used to pop my head out to check our position at least every half hour, always in terror that we would drag anchor.  I don’t understand how it works – but I do LOVE this new technology.  

 Thursday, January 14, 2009

We pulled anchor at 9:15 AM with an extra 5 feet of water under us – a comforting feeling of true floating and made our way without any problems thru the section that gave us fits the day before.  Amazing what a little water can do under the hull.  So many dolphin sightings today – all eager to play with us in our bow and stern wakes!  We never tire of watching them! 

 We now truly understand the name, “Low Country” as it pertains to South Carolina.  This place is noted for its shoals and for the marshes that go as far as the eye can see.  It is LOW, and so remote and beautiful!

But COLD…..24 degrees.   That front has caught up w us!  The fly bridge, from which we pilot this trawler, acts like a greenhouse – the sun warms us up and as long as the wind is not blowing in behind us, we are reasonably comfortable.  The fleece pants, jackets and two pairs of wool socks also help!  I need a wool hat and some gloves….none of which I packed…Why should I?  This is supposed to be a southern boat….

We arrived in Beaufort, SC City Marina and in spite of the cold (sunny!) took a horse and buggy ride thru the historic section of this little city. The horse wore a blanket and we huddled under two blankets in the wagon!   Founded in 1711, this is one of SC’s oldest cities and the whole downtown is on the Natl Register of Historic Places.  The streets are lined with 1,000 year old oaks, with branches touching the ground, majestic homes, antebellum plantations, the Beaufort Arsenal, churches, great restaurants with beautiful vistas overlooking the ICW. 

The homes here are the oldest in the South (older than Charleston & Savanna!)  because none were destroyed in the Civil War.  Not one was touched, just lived in by the Union soldiers as the inhabitants fled, leaving their homes.  Being a southerner, it should be noted, however, that while the Yanks did not burn the houses, they did strip them, shipping the nicer things back North to their homes.  Given the beauty and charm, it is obvious why such movies as “Prince of Tides” and “The Big Chill” were filmed here. This city is simply idyllic.  I look forward to a return trip in warmer weather when we can stroll about and eat in one of the waterfront eateries.

Friday, January 15, 2009.

Wishing we could stay in Beaufort longer, but not willing to venture out to sight see because of the very cold temperatures, we pulled out, cruising further south, past Savannah.  Having toured this city twice in the past year by auto, we continued along the ICW, not cruising up the river to visit the city.  We did see from the ICW, however, the Bonaventure Cemetery, made famous in the book, “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”, which we had toured a few months ago on a city tour and thoroughly enjoyed.    

Amazing - along the ICW
We cruised onward past the spectacular homes along the ICW of Hilton Head.  Hilton Head, so named in 1663 after a 17th century explorer, William Hilton now has too many NO WAKE zones to count.  Old Hilton would NEVER recognize the place he discovered!  
 This top rated destination used to be noted for its agriculture – Seas Island cotton, sugar and indigo.   Way too much development  now… for example:  The old lighthouse on Haig Point, a landmark for spotting the lighted buoy at the entrance to the Cooper River is now the centerpiece for a land development company.  Progress??  Bah.  I hate this kind of progress. 

If you want to gain a true sense of history and the old South, one should read “The River is Wide” by Pat Conroy, a GREAT southern writer.  He speaks of Daufuskie island in this area (DA FUS KEY – the first key), named by the early settlers and slaves in this area.  The movie, “Conrack” was filed on St. Simon Island and is based on this book.  Ah, the South and Southern writers!  So descriptive, so full of love, honor, lust and the bad man done good……

We pulled into Isle of Hope Marina (Mile Marker 500) to spend the night, ending up here two nights while mechanics worked on a fuel/water problem.  Nice marina, great mechanics who were most helpful – but so cold I never stuck my head out of the boat and Andy only went as far as the marina office.  Due to the freezing cold weather, no sightseeing in yet another charming village of winding roads and old restored houses scattered along the roadway next to the ICW.

Sunday, January 17, 2009

Pulled out of Isle of Hope on a rising tide at 10:25 AM hoping to successfully negotiate Skidaway Narrows & Hell Gate & Florida Passage….three challenging, twisting stretches of the ICW.   The 140 miles from Savannah  to Florida are noted for keeping cruisers on their toes – eyes glued to GPS and depth sounder, barely breathing as one bumps along on the bottom too many times – no matter that you are in the middle of the channel!  

So very beautiful through here, however, with the seemingly never ending marshes, winding, twisting rivers and creeks.  I spotted TWO bald eagles on two separate occasions; two shrimp boats and absolutely nothing else all day! 

We cruised past ‘Moon River’, made famous by Andy Williams, a singer from many years ago, but never felt mellow as we picked our way down the shallow ICW.  We breathed a sigh of relief after negotiating Hell Gate – the USCG is even considering removing all channel markers in this area because they cannot maintain their accuracy due to constant shoaling and the lack of maintenance!!  If the USCG doesn’t know where the shoals are – how are we to know???

We made it safely through Sapelo Sound and hoped to hook up with Lucy & Mike, the parents of our son-in-law and, like us, grandparents to our children’s baby, Pickett.  They live on Sapelo Island and it sounds so wonderful to be there.  Only a few more miles to get there.

Right off this curve - oops
Luck ran out at ICW marker 159/160.  In spite of the warnings to honor ‘red nun 160’, which I did,  at about 3:45 PM I ran Finally Fun aground here in Old Teakettle Creek, dead in the middle between the green and red in front of me in the distance, but with the aft end of Finally Fun slightly off the red I  had just passed.  

Looking at mud off our boat

Mud down there at the bottom of the boat!
No amount of powering or maneuvering moved us.  With tide falling, Andy quickly put in a call to Boat US for assistance.  The nearest help was about 2 hours away, in Brunswick and no matter, because with the falling tide, there would be nothing they could do.  We helplessly watched the remaining water under our boat RECEDE, until there was NO water left.  We could have walked around the boat on the dry sand for 40 yards on the port side to 1000+ yards or more on the starboard side. The remains of a wrecked shrimp boat became very visible off to starboard as the water receded – I hoped that would not be our fate!  

We settled in to wait – inexperienced and dumb enough to be relaxed……for a short time.  As the water disappeared, the boat began to list starboard.  WE began sliding starboard, holding on to the counter as it was the only solid fixed object.  The couch let go, the coffee table slid off the rug and I thought I’d do a handstand under some other power source other than my own!  The feeling was of being in one of those fun houses where the floor looks level, but you slide!  We quickly braced the coffee table and a bar stool between the helm chair and the couch, holding all in place.  About that time the two refrigerator drawers & the two freezer drawers began sliding out and the contents of the galley cabinets began hitting the inside of their cabinet doors.  We duct taped the freezer & refrig doors closed – to no avail.  One or the other of us sat on the galley (that is kitchen to you non-boaters) floor for hours, trying to keep ourselves braced in and to hold the drawers shut with our feet.  Going to the bathroom was an exercise  like being in that  fun house ….walking like a crab, holding on to the walls of the boat and as one got close to the starboard side, feeling like one’s body weight would be the extra that would ‘tip us over’ totally on our side.  Once in the bathroom – trying not to pee all over oneself was another exercise in futility. 

So, there we sat, sometimes laughing and other times as the boat groaned or creaked, we held our breath in abject fear of WHAT NEXT?  At least we would not drown.  There was no water for what now seemed like a mile away!  I must say, the red marker I cut slightly short in the aft was absolutely high and dry and we would have gone aground even if I had been a couple of feet or more over in the channel.   Somehow, that knowledge made me feel better – at least it gave me an excuse that this might have happened to even Capt. Andy.  Him, he loves it that the Admiral was THE ONE.  Ying and Yang again at work!

Finally about 10:00 PM, Boat US arrived in the black night, shining their bright searchlight on us and hailing us on the radio.  The water was still too shallow and with no water around us, Boat US hunkered down in the ICW channel, lights ablaze, to await water.  Around midnight they were able to get close enough to toss a line and we hooked up their bridle to our bow.  Much – much - much maneuvering and a couple hours later, as Boat US was about to give up and devise a Plan B, which would involved larger Boat US tugs and possibly some floats to put under Finally Fun and many more hours being stuck.   Suddenly, at the last moment before Boat US quit, Finally Fun released her hold on the hard sand bottom at 3:00 AM and we began to float!  A great feeling!

The fabulous and professional Boat US crew led us in the pitch black night a half mile up the ICW to safe anchorage – and to also make certain the boat had not been damaged and that we could work the engines.   After getting the anchor set, rearranging our furniture and untaping the refrig and freezers, we grabbed a bottle of wine and sat sipping until our nerves calmed enough to go to sleep at about 4:30 AM.  Cost:  $2,675 + Tax.  We paid nothing, as we had Boat US tow insurance (about $100 a year).  Anyone who does not have this type of insurance is taking a huge unexpected financial risk plus incurring the hassle of trying to get someone to come out to assist.  Call this the AAA of the water.

Monday, January 18, 2009

Awaking at first light, as shrimp boats began moving past our anchorage, we made coffee and grabbed for the tide tables.  Needing the sweetener for our coffee, I pulled open the cabinet door – only to have nearly the entire contents spill out on my head, arm and all over the counter top.  I’d forgotten that ALL had shifted during our sideways adventure the night before!  What a mess!!   We drank our coffee and studied the tide tables and charts over and over.  We calculated and recalculated and we did it about four times at least as we now have to negotiate again where we ran aground yesterday.  We also have to traverse Little Mud River which has horrific shoaling and must be traveled at absolute high tide, sayth the cruising guides.  We want no more grounding experiences!

That is it.  I’m done with GA and the ICW.  We had heard horror stories; heard people swear they will NEVER cruise the GA ICW and I am now one of them!  Never again!  Andy & I had discussed traveling ‘outside’ (i.e. the Atlantic Ocean) from SC to FL,   bypassing GA, but due to (a) inexperience – never done the Ocean before and (b) small to larger craft warnings for the Atlantic, we went the way of the ICW.  

Too bad GA is too cheap to maintain the ICW, because cruisers have the potential to spend a lot of money in the state on their way down – marinas, restaurants, fuel, services such as mechanics, etc etc, plus grocery and whatever else.  Andy & I, living in GA for 12 years, spent a lot of tax dollars which we never got anything in return for….terrible roads, traffic, poor schools and now the ICW clearly never benefited from our tax dollar!  Like many before us, we will skip GA during our future travels - which is a shame as it is a scenic cruise, down beautiful countryside, but just not worth the risk to one’s boat and/or sanity.  I’ll take the challenge of the open sea and even an angry King Neptune before putting up with GA’s ICW again.

At about Mile Marker 674 on the ICW coming to St. Simon’s Island, with me at the helm and Andy uncertain as to what I had written in the charts he was trying to read – I hit a crab pot when I took my eyes off the channel for a second to help him out.  Those $1,000 razors did their job and cut the line as we did not jerk or feel a pull, BUT a loud pounding emitted from below the hull.  Shutting down one engine and then the other, Andy determined it was the port engine.  We limped on one engine into nearby Golden Isle Marina on St. Simon’s in order to get a diver to check our props and remove whatever was there – obviously something was there!  

Sharon holding the offender bouy from the crab trab
Okay, so now it’s TWO goof ups to ONE goof up.  Two for me and one for Andy.  He loves having a chip over my head.  We retreated to the marina bar/restaurant for a beer and the best U Peel It shrimp we have ever eaten.

Tuesday, January 19, 2009

Diver showed up at 11:00 at slack tide and quickly pulled out the offending crab pot marker – all barnacled and orange.   It was simply stuck between the props and if we had reversed, it would have popped out by itself.  However, with expensive props at risk, had it been a different scenario, we would have been very unhappy.  At least we also now know no damage was done during yesterday’s grounding.  There is NO paint left on the keel and the props are so very shiny.  Amazing what sand will do… it sandpapered it all off.

After watching much of the Obama Presidential Inauguration til after the diver left, we cruised into Brunswick (which De Soto discovered in 1540 on behalf of Spain) to obtain fuel at a great price from a local petroleum company, only to turn back as the fuel line was so long and docking with the enormous tankers was too risky (they probably could not even SEE us – like gnats around a buffalo).   

Typical sight along the ICW in the South
We passed Jekyll Island and cruised into Cumberland Sound, a maze of range markers, lights and markers, as well as some unidentified structures in the water.  The Kings Bay Submarine Base is here, home to six Trident class subs and we think those unidentified strange looking structures might be something a sub comes up in to get worked on.  No luck in seeing a sub, however.

One of us is always working the chart and searching out the next marker with the binoculars while the other has the helm, watching the markers and the depth.  This is very much a two person job in the ICW and by day’s end, we are both exhausted.  Me, the night owl, often working at 2 and 3 AM, is dead asleep by 9:30 some nights.  It’s all stress of a different level and type!!  When I retired, by blood pressure dropped 10 points to 70 diastolic.  I need to start checking it again to see if this cruising elevates it!  I should also check Andy’s – when I am at the helm….grin.

Beautiful Cumberland Island is off to our port for 20+ miles of protected uninhabited land (US National Seashore).  We did spot two of the famous Cumberland Island wild horses in the distance.  I have always wanted to visit this Island – some time we will come back and go ashore.  It is still too cold to want to do much except hunker down.

We picked our way into a cove near St. Mary’s, dropping anchor for the evening.  A beautiful cold evening.   This is the last stop before hitting the 1,000 miles of FL shoreline.  I’m told the FL ICW will be a bit easier with more navigational aids and a little more water than what we’ve
experienced thus far.

I can’t WAIT to get to FL and get warm.  I’m so tired of the cold – much of which has been low 20’s and high teens as we cruised along over the past week or so.  I’m tired of wearing the same fleece pants and fleece jacket for days now.  I may burn them when I get South, as I can’t see how the washing machine will get them clean!  That AND I NEVER want to have to wear them again!!!   And surely we will never stay so far North again for so long past Fall!!  Lesson Learned.

Wednesday, January 20, 2009

We entered FL at Mile Marker 714.still seeking warm weather. We fueled up in Fernandina Beach (Petroleum City), taking on 493 gallons of diesel for $1002.  As we have been to Fernandina Beach a couple of times (and I visited many many times with my family as a child), we again skipped sightseeing – also still cold, in spite of the chart telling us we had arrived in FL!  We hunkered down at the fuel dock a few hours, begging forgiveness, awaiting higher tides before heading further south to Jacksonville.   

Arriving at the intersection of the St. John’s River and the ICW, I so wished we had time to explore the River – but that would take another two weeks of cruising and we don’t have the time if we are to make the Bahamas before our first visitors (Leslie & the grandchildren) arrive.  Besides, it’s the same refrain…….it is still COLD.  This section of the ICW is narrow, but deep enough but given the sand and currents, shoaling is a problem in FL also. 

Scary in tight places
We see large barges and tugs here in the ICW as we are near St. John’s River Inlet, which is the main shipping pathway to go out to the Atlantic.  

Our AIS (that I have mixed feelings about) – is a help as we can radio that “ black spot” that shows up on the chart plotter (barge) ahead by name and let them know this little bitty boat is in the channel with them and which side would they prefer we pass on.  That is certainly better than screaming into the radio, “black thing in the ICW near John’s River marker #x, “ look out for the little boat!”  Maybe we will get our money’s worth out of the AIS – except that many boats still are not using the system, so we do still revert from time to time to that illogical scream stated above.

We’ve got reservations at the Palm Cove Marina in Jacksonville Beach so we can spend a few days with my Mom, Sister Anne and Niece Devon and her daughter, Myla.  Arriving about 5:00 PM, we picked our way into the Marina on a low tide, again holding our breath.  We doubted there was enough water to get it, but get in we did.  We stayed til Monday, January 26, having a great time with family.  On Sunday, we somewhat cleaned the boat in the narrow window of warm and had former Novartis work colleagues and friends (Matt & Clint and Donna & Shannon) over for dinner aboard Finally Fun.   So fun to catch up with old friends!!!

Monday, January 26, 2009
BB McCormick Bridge sans fog
Whew, worst thick fog I’ve seen in a long long time.  That, plus the fact that the Bridge just south of us was to close from 7-12 and 1-5 for repairs was going to seriously delay our travels.  Via VHF radio, we reached the Tug Captain repairing the bridge and he said due to fog he would be delayed shutting down the bridge and he’d wait for us to get through.  As the fog has lessened and we could see somewhat, we picked our way slowly out of the Marina and its shallows.  Peering into the ICW and making the southern turn into it, we suddenly could not even see the bow of our boat.  I swear I could not see my nose cross eyed.  Andy very carefully pivoted the boat in the narrow channel and aimed back for the Marina.  We tied up at the dock we had just vacated and settled in for a few more hours.  

BB McCormick Bridge w/out fog

We figured the day was shot due to the Bridge construction, but cruised through in fairly good visibility at noon – headed to St. Augustine.  While it takes us HOURS to get to St. Augustine, my sister, Mom and niece drove it in about 40 minutes, meeting us for dinner!  One more fun night! 

We stayed at the City Marina, immediately south of the Bridge of Lions, which is under what appears to be continual construction.  In fact, at midnight, just off our aft deck, the construction crews were still at it.  Sometime in the wee hours, they stopped for a nap, allowing us to get some solid sleep. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Founded in 1565 as a Spanish military outpost, St. Augustine is the oldest continuously occupied European settlement in the US.  There is so much to see here:  the Spanish heritage, battlements, dungeons, the oldest schoolhouse in the US, many specialty shops, restaurants, beautiful architecture and on and on.  As this is a city both Andy & I have visited more than once – actually lots… we skipped sightseeing here, even though the temperature is rising and walking would be a pleasure.

Traveling buddy for a couple of days
We pulled out at 8:00 AM behind BESO, a 40’ Nordhaven, our dock mates, again cruising in fog (but not as bad as the day before), to follow them southbound for the day. Somehow, following someone else’s wake PLUS our GPS tracks and the chart, is comforting….a sense of security that perhaps, following the wrong boater, could become a disaster!  Gotta be careful who one chooses as their LEADER!  Wait til the United States wakes up on that one after this past election with the inexperienced, socialistic Obama as our President! 

A beautiful SUNNY warm day -- the best in months – as we traveled down the FL ICW marshes, spoil areas loaded with birds.  Spotted numerous dolphins most of whom swam alongside, cavorting and leaping to entertain us yet again. 

Two manatee (looked like a Mom and perhaps a Baby) came alongside, rolled up at us and rolled on over!! The manatee, an endangered species, has got to be the ugliest creature I’ve ever seen – and I’ve seen a few close up, including one who only wanted her belly rubbed some 20 years ago when I was diving in Tarpon Springs, FL.  These slow moving mammals are most likely the original couch potato…

Birds again continually flew behind us as though they again think we are a FISHING trawler and might drop some food scraps.  Then, we saw a large number of birds flying low, flapping their wings on the water.  We learned they do this to stir up the fish they see from the air and then by really stirring up the water, agitating the fish, they can feed on the fish more readily!!     Smart birds!

Gulls stirring up the water to get the fish

 Cruising down toward Cape Kennedy, Cape Canaveral and the Space Center, we could see the VAB (Vertical Assembly Building) from many miles away.  How exciting it would be to be here when a shuttle launch would go off!   Having seen one many years ago – thanks to my Mom, I and my children got tickets for a front row seat with the press.  Awesome how the ground shakes long before one hears the sound  of the rockets taking off.  Wonder what it would be like viewing that from the water???

Bob & Jill Wells Bowman
Continuing our cruise southward, we zeroed in on the Cocoa water tower, easily finding the Cocoa Village Marina.   We spent the afternoon and evening docked there  – a delightful restored place (most of the buildings are listed on the Natl Historic Register – some as old as 1880)  to stroll around in, eat and drink and visiting with a high school friend, Jill and her husband, Bob.  Jill and I graduated from high school just a few miles on down the ICW at Satellite Beach.  Another fun evening reminiscing!

Thursday, January 29, 2009
Departed at 9:00 ish under sunny skies with those same sea gulls stirring up the fish again and Mommy, Daddy and Baby Dolphin following us, leaping, showing off and eyeballing me as I stood hanging over the side rail!   The dolphin do seems to stay longer when they know they have an audience!  

With high winds and a cold front approaching, we zipped (at trawler speed of 8 knots) further south, passing Sebastian Inlet, noted for its awesome, dangerous surfing and dangerous boating.  We could feel the effects of the raging Inlet tugging at our boat as we passed way west of it. I remember many a time driving from Satellite Beach down a two lane road all the way to Sebastian Inlet and stand on the northern side in awe, watching the sea rage in the Inlet…always a  scary sight.  God bless the local fisherman who traverse this area daily….tremendous skills sets!  

Moving right along,  we sought safe anchorage ahead of the coming weather.    Finding none along our route, (would you believe it is ILLEGAL to anchor in Vero Beach!!!) we ended up hunkering down and  sharing a mooring ball, at the Vero Beach Municipal Marina, rafting along side another trawler, Orient Express, with Bruce & Gail aboard.  This is always a great way to make new friends (or potential enemy if one does not mind one’s boating manners!)  With our heads spinning from all the great information imparted by Bruce & Gail (maybe 8 trips or so under their sailboat hull – but first trip aboard  their new trawler), we made plans to follow them across the Gulf Stream in a few days when the weather broke and both of our boats had completed their scheduled repairs.

Friday, January 30, 2009
Hunkered down, catching up on paperwork while it rained all day.  We are in no hurry, as we have scheduled  a few days ‘off’ in order to add an alternator and a water maker before departing to the Bahamas and we are currently slightly ahead of our scheduled work.  Enjoyed the company and cocktails with Bruce & Gail aboard Orient Express in the evening.

Saturday, January 31, 2009
Carefully calculating the tides so we could safely get OUT of this Marina, we unhooked Finally Fun from Orient Express and headed for Palm Cove.  Along the way, after a lot of difficulty, we finally found a commercial Petroleum Fuel Dock, where we filled all of our diesel tanks.  For the first time, we filled the aft tank (250 gallons) which sits under our bed and another 100 gallons in the lazarette.  We topped off the two side tanks (375 gallons each).  We do not want to purchase fuel in the Bahamas due to (a) a greatly inflated price and (b) chance of obtaining dirty fuel which would certainly ruin our day and potentially an engine.  Funny, and par for the course, after fully FULL tanks, our shower stall still holds all the water in the same corner as it has always held after bathing.  The broker kept telling us when we filled the fuel tanks the boat would level off.  Guess what did NOT happen.  Bah.  Same crappy story all over again.  Nothing and I mean NOTHING ever works as expected or promised. 

Cruising onward, we successfully passed by the St. Lucie Inlet, another tricky one where you must keep a firm hand on the wheel and eye on the currents and compass to avoid being swept off course and into shallow water.  We carefully negotiated the tricky course off the ICW to Palm City, where we docked at the back of a home in a canal area, where Steve will install our water maker and another alternator.  We pulled in promptly on time, and Steve and his wife, Captain Diane, were waiting to help us tie up and settle in.

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