Monday, November 8, 2010

St Mary’s at Anchor – at least we motor sailed today

What a nice park for Hoolie (and Ann and Liz too) at St Mary's
We were anchored next to a catamaran for the night and he wandered all over his anchor. At one moment he was within 60 feet and then, only a minute later, he would be 200 feet away, rotating and turning all the time. You’d think they would get dizzy inside. We anchored after they did when they were in one of their faraway cycles and was concerned at how close they drifted when the tide changed. With our chain, we drift hardly at all. In truth, we probably anchored too close and we’ll have to pay more attention to anchoring next to catamarans in the future. They don’t answer to tides and winds the same way a sailboat with a keel does and especially a sailboat using chain. Regardless, there was no problem during the night, we stayed apart.

Nice dock! - Heaven for dog owners
We had enough wind out of the west to sail part of the way and we took advantage of it while we could for the first part of the trip. There was only one caution on Active Captain for today’s segment. Several sailboats have gone aground following the magenta line (the recommended route printed on the charts for the ICW) where the Crooked River meets the ICW. Active Captain posted transit directions for the area that had 12 ft MLW instead of the 4 ft reported. It involves following faithfully the markers, totally ignoring you chartplotter – or as one boater put it, “Turn the damn thing off for this segment”) In staying to the green side, your chartplotter shows you passing over a small island! With the icon of your boat approaching the island staring you in the face (island supposedly underwater at the moment) , it takes a lot of faith to ignore that and follow Active Captain. However, other boaters have posted success and we followed the advice and also passed right over the “island” on the chartplotter (it’s also on the NOAA charts too!) and carried 12 ft MLW doing it. One sort of expected to hear a loud CLUNK and any moment but we had success.

Sub degaussing equipment
We passed naval yards and saw a setup for degaussing submarines – so they can be demagnetized. With the large DC currents used to drive the motors, sections of the sub can become magnetic, not good for stealth operation or on-board equipment.

Oh No - Christmas decorations already?!
Rounding into the harbor at St Mary’s we were surprised at the number of boats already anchored, 30 or so but the anchorage is huge and we found a spot. The town is beautiful with plenty of dockage for visiting boaters and a park for walking Hoolie, very nice (no mud today!) Hamburgers and bridge finished the day. Tuesday we finally enter Florida!