Friday, April 30, 2021

Beaufort SC - at a city dock and we meet up with M/V Scout


Carriage ride through the historic section of town

It was a short trip today to Beaufort, SC from Windmill Harbour. It helped that the tide was coming in with a vengeance for most of the way. The north may be still getting winter weather but down here it's summertime! 

Many early houses in town from the plantation owners of a past era

I ran into one of my Bob423 Surveyors today, M/V Scout! He had earned a Bob423 burgee but this was my first opportunity to give him his. He surveyed the Angelfish Creek Cut in the Keys for 4.5 MLLW. We then walked into town and we learned that the town had just stopped the requirement for masks while outside, only a very few people were wearing them. Strangely, at the marina here, they have forbidden any gatherings on boats of more than three people, citing South Carolina guidelines. We're having friends over for dinner on Saturday night so we'll see how that goes. 

Nice dinghy dock for those that chose to anchor out

The marina appears in good shape. There's a dinghy dock at the south end for those in the anchorage and there's WiFi at the marina, although not very good. We will be here through Saturday and leave Sunday morning for the Steamboat Springs anchorage before moving to Charleston the next day. 

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Windmill Harbor Marina - Last day, a Blue Herron nest, and lunch at Hudson's Seafood


Hudson's Seafood - great place right on the ICW!

What better day than to celebrate our last day at Hilton Head with lunch at Hudson's Seafood! The restaurant is right on the ICW and they have docks for smaller boats to tie up for lunch or dinner. They have a huge outdoor dining area but the shade was limited so we chose to eat inside. They serve locally caught fish so I had the flounder sandwich, it was done up just right - excellent. 

Two blue herons in their nest - but where is it?

On the way home, we took Hoolie out for his afternoon walk and discovered a blue heron nest. I never thought a heron nest would be so high up, I envisioned one being near the ground but this one was way out on a limb that didn't look very stable. 

Way up there, can you see it? (out on the middle limb leaning to the left)

I was further surprised when I saw one of the two herons walking around on their tall, thin legs in the nest. They certainly go for heights when they settle in for the mating season. I would think it wouldn't be very stable in a high wind, but then they can fly so they have an out. 

On Friday, we head north again to reach Beaufort, SC, and meet up with friends the next day on Saturday. We are slowly moving north. 

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Windmill Harbour Marina - quiet day at the dock

All in a row, ready to race!

 I caught up on some Waterway Guide work and Ann enjoyed the excellent weather in the cockpit. There have been a lot of changes in the ICW so I wanted to update many of the hazard alerts so boaters would be warned of the dangers. 

It was a scramble to get out the lock

In the afternoon, we took our usual walk with Hoolie and discovered the regatta that was scheduled for Wednesday evening. They were small sailboats and some seemed to scoot around against all odds against the wind. I later found out that many of the "pure" sailing class boats had a small electric motor for getting out of the harbor. A procession lined up and towed the ones without the electric convenience out to the sailing area. 

Meanwhile, we spent the day on Fleetwing

I don't know who won the average age of the contestants rivaled our age, although I think we still had a leg up in years. We had a luncheon scheduled for Thursday which we're looking forward to. Ted is providing transportation to a place that has an excellent reputation, Hudson's Seafood, we're looking forward to the luncheon!

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Windmill Harbour Marina - At a dock, friends, and a dinner at the yacht club

Wine with friends, a perfect way to spend the afternoon!

It was a short run to Windmill Harbour on Hilton Head Island, we arrived by noon. Ted Arisaka, a moderator for ICW Cruising Guide Facebook page, met us at the lock. For those not familiar with Windmill Harbour, the marina sits behind a lock. The level of the water in the marina is level with high tide but when the tide goes out, the lock gates are closed to keep the level of the water in the marina constant. So when you enter, you must lock in to be raised to the level of the marina. 

The front porch of the yacht club was very inviting

The lock system keeps the level constant in the marina and very calm, no currents. All the docks are fixed since there's no tide. We were assigned a dock right next to the South Carolina Yacht Club. During the day, we were visited by Ted and his wife Patty along with Chris who sat in the cockpit (see photo). It was our assignment to finish a bottle of fine northern Italian wine selected by Ted for the occasion. we managed.

We were invited out for dinner at the Yacht Club under the stars which was an experience we would highly recommend. The South Carolina Yacht Club is first-rate, a beautiful building with welcoming members, don't miss dining there if you stop by the marina for the night. 

Due to some rainy weather due, we will be staying here for the next two nights and moving on Friday to Beaufort, SC. Before then, there's a regatta on Wednesday that ought to be interesting, lots of activities going on. 

Monday, April 26, 2021

Thunderbolt in Savannah - at a dock


Typical boats in for refitting - and these are not the biggest one there

We wanted a short run today and needed to refuel, pump out, and provision. Thunderbolt is very convenient for refueling with its easy to dock at facedock. It's also the home to some very large boats for renovation, larger than anywhere else on the ICW. 

The WiFi did not reach the end of the dock where we were, so we moved
to the picnic area under the WiFi antenna, can't miss our biweekly Zoom with family

Instacart is alive and well and I signed up for a one month membership for the trip north for $9.95. The one thing it has going for it is convenience. Just use their app and order the groceries you want and one of their shoppers will pick it out and deliver it right to the marina. We ordered around noon and had our groceries by 2:00. 

A view of the docks here, all cement, sturdy

Thunderbolt has a courtesy car for use by transients but we had laundry to do and we ran out of time so we used the Instacart service instead. The laundry room has two washers and two dryers that did the job as expected, one of the reasons we stop here. Tuesday morning we expect the usual delivery of Krispy Kreme donuts! During the check in, you're asked if you want donuts in the morning. The donuts are delicious but they are calorie intensive! 

We will head for Windmill Harbour on Tuesday and perhaps stray an extra day, we need to relook at the weather report before deciding for sure. 

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Kilkenny Marina - at a dock


I'm always fascinated by the old live oaks here, grand trees

We had intended anchoring out at Crescent River but the weather was so nice and the winds so mild that we decided to push on to Kilkenny, our second day destination. We left early for us at 7:30 am and got a good start through Jekyll Island. I'll post the depths we found later on after some analysis but it was shallow at MLLW as was Little Mud River, details to follow.

Plenty of room at Kilkenny

It seemed that no matter where we went, the tide was almost always against us so we did not make good time. The current stations predicting the flow rate were woefully inaccurate, mostly not in our favor. Where 0.5 kts of current against us was predicted, we were seeing 1.5 to 2.0 kts of foul current!

Kilkenny Marina is just a face dock. Any resemblance to a marina is by name only. However, we like the face dock with newly upgraded electrical outlets and buss supply so we're running A/C with no problems, unlike in the past at times. 

What is missing where we were at, farther down the line on the docks, is WiFi. The marina has one WiFi router in the window of the office. If there's a boat between you and the router, you don't get WiFi - which is the case with use tonight. Ann can still get out on the phone, just no WiFi from the marina. I'm using the iPhone hotspot with one bar and if you wait only enough, it seems to get out. 

We're headed to Thunderbolt in Savannah on Monday if they have a slip, we're on a waiting list for that. Otherwise, we'll find something in Savannah for the night. Then it's on to Windmill Harbour for two nights. 

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Jekyll Island - We take a ride on a golf cart and provision


The beach was first-rate - with driftwood here and there

We found a small grocery story on the island and decided to visit to restock on fresh vegetables and citrus along with milk and eggs. The marina here has two golf carts that they load to transients. You have to sign them out by giving your state's license number, insurance company, but after that, you're on your own. The golf carts are allowed to drive on the island roads. The maximum speed limit is only 35 mph and often less so it's no big deal. 

Here comes the front!

Our first stop was to the local grocery store and we bought oranges (no grapefruit), milk, eggs, salad makings, orange juice, and a few other items, very convenient. I stored everything in back and headed off to explore the island. There's a perimeter road that follows the water so we just followed that for a tour of the island. 

The island is more developed than it first appears. The beaches are first rate with plenty of kiosks for changing and restrooms. I watched the battery gauge as we tooled around and only used up about 1/4 of the chargte with our island circle. 

The reason we stayed for two days instead of one was due to the weather forecast of severe thunderstorms Saturday afternoon and overnight. This time, the weatherman didn't disappoint and we got what was predicted, lots of wind and rain. I was glad to be at a dock for all of that. On Sunday, we are headed north again through Little Mud River and plan on anchoring at Crescent River for the night.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Jekyll Island Marina - at a dock and dining out at Zachry's Riverhouse at the marina


Up close and personal in a narrow channel 

The excitement of the passage to Jekyll Island was meeting the Independence in the narrow channel with range markers (to keep you in the narrow channel). I let him have the center of the channel and I scooted off to one side, carefully. He didn't seem to change course anyway so it was for the best. At least we got a good view of him as he passed by.

The docks were concrete and very solid

We docked at Jekyll Island Marina for the first time ever for us. We usually just anchored out and skipped the marina but we thought we would try something new this time and explore the island. We're glad we did. There's a lot to see on Jekyll. I didn't realize it's such a short ride on a bike (provided for free by the marina) to the Atlantic side and the beach. 

The restaurant is in a beautiful setting by the marina pool, and the food is good!

We had lunch at Zachry's Riverhouse restaurant that's right by the marina and were pleased with the quality of the lunches. I had the shrimp and grits (Ann can't stand grits but I like it) and Ann had the homemade crabcakes which were very good. We'll go back again on Saturday for the sandwich selections. 

The bicycle paths were all over Jekyll, you didn't have to compete with the local cars

The marina also provides two golf carts for transient use, again at no charge. We'll use one tomorrow to go to the nearby market for some fresh vegetables. After that, we'll try the bike. Jekyll has bike trails all over the island so you're not in competition with the road traffic, very nice. 

Ah, the beach, and with colorful kits flying

We'll stay here Saturday too since there are thunderstorms predicted to roll through Saturday night, some may be severe. Then it's on to the Crescent River anchorage for Sunday night. 

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Fernandina - at a dock


Nothing like having protection from the north off your aft 

The wind was still howling this morning out of the northeast at 15 to 20 kts which is not a good direction for rounding the outside buoys at Jekyll Island. The night had been noisy with the wind and wave action against current slapping against the hull so we decided to stay another day at Fernandina but this time at a dock. 

We were just ahead of the big boat in the photo

I signed onto Shag-a- Slip from a link on the marina webpage and made a reservation. A short time later, I called and they were ready for me to come in. Ann did her usual Capt Ron maneuver in docking and we were set for the day. We watched several other boats try to dock by coasting in slowly but that didn't work out too well with the wind and current. 

We had a nice sunset, the first one for a while on our trip north

We had four couples stop by to say hi during the day. Even the dockmaster said he had heard of my guide and I left him a card so he could give updates on my review of his facility in the 2021 edition of my ICW Cruising Guide due out in July. 

We are headed to Jekyll Marina for the next two days to explore Jekyll Island. We've never stayed there since we've favored the nearby anchorage which is 360 protected from wind and waves. However, there are severe thunderstorms predicted for Saturday evening and we've rather be secure at a dock than at anchor. We intend to explore the island anyway, many people say it's a great place to visit. 

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Fernandina - at anchor, new docks and new dinghy dock


The fairway between the outside docks and the next docks towards land has been 
increased in width quite a lot

We went a little further than we had wanted today and made it 52 NM to Fernandina. We had wanted to stay there two days but the new policy is to pay for dockage upfront when you make the reservations. As I understood the cancellation policy when explained over the phone, you had to cancel 48 hours in advance to get your money back. So if I had a mechanical problem or the weather drastically changed and I couldn't get there in time, I was out the dockage fee and at $2.50/ft, it's not small change. 

The dinghy docks were especially nice and right next to a park for walking your dog

With that, I decided not to make reservations and instead reserve a dock at Jekyll Island Marina which has a cancellation policy with no advanced notice even though they use DOCKWA, a company I'm not a fan of. We've never been there so we're looking forward to exploring the island. 

A view south on the dinghy dock, there's a similar view northward, lots of space

We tentatively expect to stay there through Saturday night when thunderstorms and heavy rain is due to come through. If so, we would start north again on Sunday. 

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

St Augustine - We visit the city art gallery

The famous "Bridge of Lions" lion

The best place to see art in St Augustine is the St Augustine Art Association which has its own art gallery with an excellent presentation area. It's a big area with room for about 100 paintings hung along the four walls. The lighting is excellent and the artwork itself is mostly first-rate. There is no charge for entry but a donation box is present by the entrance. 

Ann, talking "shop" with the curator

Ann chatted quite a while with the curator, she likes talking "shop". The exhibit included pastels, watercolors, oils, and mixed media. It was all very well done,  we greatly enjoyed the visit. You are not allowed to take photos inside of the paintings but I received permission to take a photo of Ann discussing a painting with the curator. They are only open Tuesdays through Saturdays but that may change after the virus is more under control. 

All ready to go!

Fleetwing is now ready to move one. The water tanks are filled and the washdown pump repaired. We will either go to Fernandina or stop by the Jacksonville Sisters Creek docks, depending upon how ferocious the foul tide is on Wednesday, it will be against us most of the day. 

Monday, April 19, 2021

St Augustine - We visit the embroidery shop


The display hanging baskets was a common sight in our visit to Ireland but it's here too

There's one place in St Augustine that we visit every year, it sells the most exquisite embroidery cloths we've ever seen, Lei's Linens. There are special ones for Thanksgiving and Christmas and ones that just look pretty. Ann buys a new pattern each time we visit the place. It's at the end of the main street with a left turn just before reaching the end. It's worth a visit. 

Lei's Linens - a beautiful display

Main Street by all the stores was a lot less crowded today, we felt comfortable walking where we did feel crammed together. We didn't go in any stores (except for Lei's Linens of course). It was a nice afternoon, especially since the forecast was for a 99% chance of rain!

Per the forecast, we are here one more day when the rainy weather is supposed to clear out of the area on Wednesday. We are undecided on whether to stop by at the free dock at Sisters Creek or just continue on to Fernandina. The weather will play a factor in that. 

Sunday, April 18, 2021

St Augustine - A walk through Old Town

I just love the flowers of St Augustine!

 Rain, rain, and more rain but it did stop for a while in the afternoon, the sun even came out. With that, we hurried out and took our afternoon walk by the ICW. We stayed on the walk by the seawall where there were not many people, they were all downtown. 

This guy kept an eye on us too

On the way back, we enjoyed the flowers that have come out in bloom in the warm weather, just like in Key West. St Augustine doesn't have the nightlife of Key West (who does?) but we didn't want to participate in that anyway with the virus still about. 

Hanging form the trees!

Monday will be another day inside on the boat with even more rain predicted, Tuesday too, but Wednesday is supposed to be clear - then we're out of here. 

Saturday, April 17, 2021

St Augustine - A walk in the park


Scenes like these play out all over St Augustine, all the time.

The forecast is for three days of rain starting Sunday. With that, we reserved three more days in St Augustine with a plan to leave Wednesday morning. We have OnSpotWiFi service so we're connected. We walked towards downtown today and saw a ceremony in the old style that is typical of St Augustine. They have a very active community that will dress in the style of the early days and walk around town. In this case, they held a ceremony and it was interesting to watch. 

The St Augustine Art Association was closed today but the flowers were in full display.

We then walked around one of the side streets and once again ran into a group all decked out in the clothes of the original settlers. The town seems very interested in preserving traditions, especially in dress. We were going to walk towards the center of town but the walkway was much too crowded for our tastes. Most people were not wearing masks so we decided to come back during the week when it was less crowded, hopefully. 

We will be hear until the rains clear out, predicted for Wednesday morning now. 

Friday, April 16, 2021

St Augustine - at a dock


We arrive in St Augustine! Looks pretty full. 

Heading north to St Augustine, the only area of concern was Ft Matanzas but by favoring the shore a little more than last year, we found 10 MLLW. I will be editing the Bob423 Savannah to Titusville long track to follow the little deeper water closer to shore through there. Everything else was pretty routine. 

Remember the large restaurant just south of the docks, it is no more.

We had a forecast of rain coming in the afternoon and with a foul tide, we weren't sure we could make St Augustine before the rains fell. However, we just made it in time. The forecast is for more of the same for the next five days! With that, we decided to stay put until Wednesday and use the time to explore St Augustine which we missed on the way down due to the pandemic. 

I just had waterproofed the bimini, just in time - look at the beading!

Ann wants to shop at the embroidery store which has some fabulous runners for tables. It's a nice place to just walk around - provided there are gaps in the predicted rain for the next five days! 

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Bethune Park in Daytona - At anchor


Two dinghy docks!

It was a nice day to travel with full sun and warm winds. We passed through the two shallow areas at Ponce de Leon with no problems. The first one, by R18, had 7.8 MLLW and the second shallow area by R2 showed 7.6 MLLW, just follow the bob423 track for good water. 

Hoolie does enjoy his dinghy rides!

There are several places where the ICW turns are not obvious to those not familiar with the passage. At Ponce de Leon we had a powerboat pass us and headed north by R18 as if to go out the Ponce de Leon inlet. We proceeded to take a sharp turn to port to pass R18 and continue on the ICW. 

Pretty soon, we looked back and saw the powerboat slow down, turn around, and then proceeded to make the turn by R18. They never did speed up to pass us a second time. I see where that turn could confuse some people since there are red and green buoys heading straight too as if that was the ICW. If you don't know you're supposed to turn to port, you would just proceed straight ahead. 

Bethune Park has a very good and sturdy launching dock that's also good for dinghies. I took advantage of the docks for Hoolie relief - he enjoyed himself too. The anchorage was more crowded than I remember in the past but the place is so large that there's plenty of room for many more boats. We anchored in 10 feet of water and the anchor grabbed immediately. Judging from past experience, the anchor and chain will be very muddy in the morning - good work for our washdown pump. 

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Titusville - Alligator and flowers


Right off "A" dock, where we are at

Florida is famous for alligators and flowers. We saw both today. The alligator was in the marina between dock A and shore. He wasn't doing very much, just lazing along. He stayed in the marina all afternoon, not moving very much at all. There was another, smaller alligator nearby but the bigger one chased him away. I don't think the divers want to go in the water anytime soon. 

Just a tree in someone's backyard

We went to the produce store and in the backyard was this beautiful tree covered in blue flowers. I've never seen anything like it, not even in Key West. I have no idea what it's called but it was stunning - just a tree in somebody's backyard. 

A closeup of one of the flower clusters

On our walk through Sand Point Park, there are plantings all around. This one in particular is in the photo and again, no idea of the name but it was likewise stunning. It's nice to just walk around and see such beautiful plants - not so much the alligator. 

Just a solitary planning in the parking lot. What is it?

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Titusville - In celebration of our stay in Titusville - a night out at Shilos


Here's to a happy time in Titusville!

Shilos is an experience in overeating. The helpings are huge and it's a very popular restaurant in Titusville. For the most part, it's pretty good. We had the seafood dinner. The shrimp were the best part of the dish and the fish was not bad. The french fried and onion rings are very good. However, when you've had full belly clams, the clam strips served in Shilos and all restaurants south of Branford, Connecticut bear no resemblance to the real thing. 

Nevertheless, we celebrated our stay in Titusville. We received our vaccine shots earlier than we would have in New York and the weather was warmer. We enjoyed the morning walks and runs in the warm weather and the other long term residences of the dock were fun to be around. Hoolie enjoyed the dog park, he could just run and run to his heart's content, a big thing for Hoolie. 

Wednesday will be a big day of last minute things to do. We'll get the last of the groceries and a few odds and ends from CVS. I'll top off the water tank. Today I applied waterproofing to the bimini for the first time in several years. There's some rain coming and we want a dry cockpit. It will feel a little strange moving again after so many months at a dock but it's time to head north. 

Monday, April 12, 2021

Titusville - After the storm


No room at the inn

We are starting to get into the summer thunderstorms, time to head north! It rained all day long on Monday. The dinghy is full and needs attention as does the bimini - it needs waterproofing. I have the treatment, it just has to be applied, a task for Tuesday. 

The marina outdoor meeting area is at the left, open air with grills

The sky is a deep blue, the winds are light and the air is warm. It's a nice after-the-storm day. Tuesday night I'll be my all-time-date out for one last dinner at Shilos. We'll have wine, food and discuss the meaning of life. Being in our 70s, we have all the answers (of course), but no one wants to listen?!

In the meantime, Titusville Marina is doing well as you can see from the photo. I think all the marinas in Florida were just about full for the winter. I heard that it's almost impossible to get a long-term slip anywhere south of Jacksonville. A lot of people are retiring to boats!