Thursday, October 20, 2011

St. James Plantation Marina - Last Day

The area is very nice and well kept
The wind blew and blew and blew last night and all day today. We registered a top gust of 29 kts so we just stayed another day at the marina. We could have moved on if we had to but then we didn't have to so why not go in better weather? Nice not having a schedule you must keep.

We had one of our maintenance days of cleaning the boat and doing laundry while the wind blew like crazy and the temperature only reached 67, very cool! However, it's supposed to warm up into the 70's for the rest of the week. We heard a long range forecast from NOAA that the northeast will have a colder than normal winter but not as bad as last year but the part we liked the best was the forecast for Florida - warmer than normal and dry!

The local pet bird - a great blue heron that hangs around the marina
I met several boaters down the dock that were interested in my navigation setup. Many boaters are looking into using a tablet PC at the helm. I chose the Apple iPad2 but there are other choices. The software being written for the tablets is much less expensive than traditional software for the PC or dedicated marine electronics. With the expanding application base and user feedback, the capabilities being included in the software (apps) are awesome and put the dedicated marine equipment to shame in many cases. You can look at some of the apps I use by clicking on the link at left under "Pages"

Eventually everything was done and the wind finally died. We're off for Barefoot Landing on Friday for two days to explore the outlet shops and one of our favorite restaurants, Greg Norman's Austrialian Grille. Along the way we'll pass through the "Rock Pile", a famous stretch of the ICW that's very narrow and lined with ledges to catch your prop if you stray off the centerline! Here's advice from one guide,

"Within Pine Island Cut exists a three mile section unofficially dubbed "the rock pile" . The rock pile is considered by many the most treacherous part of the ICW. Dangerous not because of wind, wave or storm but because of the hidden and uncharted hazards below the surface, primarily rocks and stumps from the eroding banks of the cut. The advice of the many victims of the rock pile is to steer a course dead center in the ditch and give way to no one"

On our trip last year, we didn't meet a boat coming in the opposite direction on either our northern or southern passage so we stayed in the middle. You can be sure we'll be very careful this year too. Wish us luck.