Sunday, November 13, 2022

TItusville - Last day


A view towards Indian River - all is quiet now

Today was packing day for our return to New York for the holidays. Our leak is fixed so that’s been put to rest and the car is ready to go north. The November trip doesn’t load the car up as much as in May when we have to empty the boat for the summer. We’ve found the only way to keep mildew at bay is to run a dehumidifier. Other’s have found different solutions but the dehumidifier works every time. I mount it on the counter so the drain can empty into the sink. 

It’s been a world-wind trip trip south punctuated by two wind storms, the last one being a hurricane. Between the two storms, we had good traveling weather - I just wish the hurricane had found someone else to entertain - but you can’t control the weather!

This is the last blog post for this year. I will restart the blog when we return the first week of January for our trip south to Key West. It would be nice to have an uneventful cruise to the Keys, for a change!

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Titusville - A SpaceX launch and Shilohs for dinner


We can see the launches from the front deck of Fleetwing

A Space X launch is pretty routine in Titusville. You will usually get a launch almost once a week. The Falcon heavy attracts more attention and the moon rocket by NASA will get a big crowd due to its size. We had a Space X launch this morning around 11:00 am which we watched from Fleetwing. The most visible part of the launch is the vapor trail left by the Falcon. 

We had a good dinner at Shilohs

I was overjoyed this morning to find that the leak was fixed by the replacement of the through hull in the aft swim platform locker. Sometimes you never find these things but we were successful this time. The plastic through hull installed by Beneteau was replaced by a Groco bronze through hull which is much more sturdy. With that fixed, it’s much easier to relax over the next two months away from Fleetwing.

For our going away meal, we dined at Shilohs, nice. It’s right on the water and the food is generally pretty good. If you just look at the parking lot, you would think the place must be full - but the inside is huge. We didn’t feel crowded when we ate at 5:00. 

Sunday is our big day for packing the car for our Monday morning departure. It’s time to start northward.

Friday, November 11, 2022

Titusville - We have a through hull replaced

Fleetwing is airborne!

 One of the great advantages of the Titusville Marina is the adjacent marina that has a travel lift for haulout for repairs. There’s an excellent marine repair shop called “Boaters Edge” which has always done outstanding work on Fleetwing. In the past, they’ve replaced an aft oil seal on my Volvo, a five hour job for less cost than anywhere else. I’ve also had a forward hatch replaced (no leaks!) and a through hull seacock combination that fed water to my Genset. In every case, they did what they promised and the work was top notch. 

The repair is underway

This time I had the through hull in my swim platform replaced. Upon removal of the old through hull (plastic!), he discovered a small hole in the tube just above the hull. I had a bronze through hull to replace the plastic one and we’re back in our slip in less than three hours.

We’re on A dock with a nice view of the setting sun

We have one more day to enjoy Titusville before having to pack on Sunday for the trip north on Monday. As usual, the car will be filled to the gills. We never seem to have too much room. Hoolie will have his spot but every nook and cranny will be spoken for. We’ll celebrate with a night out at Shilohs for a fish dinner, one of our favorite restaurants in Titusville. 

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Titusville - A hurricane runs through it


Fleetwing looked the same as when we left her yesterday

We left Fleetwing around 2:30 pm on Wednesday as Hurricane Nicole was about to make landfall just south of here. We were in the “danger quadrant” where the speed of the hurricane adds to the spreed of circulation around the eye. 

Fleetwing did take a bite out of the nearby piling during a gust

We tied up Fleetwing as best we knew how, double and triple lines and went about five miles inland to a Days Inn. They allow dogs with a $10 charge. We could hear the wind howling all night long but could only imagine what was happening to Fleetwing. 

We spent a restless night with me worrying about our boat and woke up around 5:45 am, couldn’t get back top sleep then. We watched the news which did not appear to be good! There were hurricane force gusts off Titusville which raised our concern.

I saw a posting about someone at Titusville walking the docks and giving a status on boats - I quickly texted him and he took a photo of Fleetwing which was fine! The boat rode out the storm in good shape, no damage at all. I looked at our wind gauge and the peak wind seen was 57 kts (65 mph)!

Some canvass did not survive but our enclosure was unaffected

In talking to some of the old timers who live on boats in the marina, it was the worse storm they had ever experienced. They said the storm never let up, there were no calm periods - only unrelenting wind, on and on, all night long. They didn’t get any sleep. 

We are now on Fleetwing and it’s calm, a very nice calm! I much prefer calm to storm!

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Titusville - in a motel


The boat upwind of us only had one line to the forward cleat. If that line gave way, he would careen into Fleetwing. I added one line and the marina office added a third line. I think he’s secure now.

The highest winds are due tonight at Titusville.. Not wanting to experience that event, we decided to spend the night on land in a Days Inn. Last night was rough enough, we didn’t need to repeat that. So I decided to reserve a room and learned several lessons. First of all, never use a reservations service, only go directly to the official site of the motel you wish to deal with - do not use a third party like “”. I thought I was using the Days Inn site, it was cleverly disguised to look like the real thing but I was wrong. I found out that charges $19.95 to make a reservation. If you dealt directly with Days Inn, there was no charge. Furthermore, any reservations through them are completely non-refundable, including the $19.95 booking fee. 

Several boats usually out on moorings or anchored, came into the marina looking for free dockage by the public boat ramp. 

My second bad experience was with a long time favorite of mine, Red Roof Inn. Usually, you have until 4:00 pm of the day of the reservation to cancel - but not at Red Roof Inn in Orlando. That inn has a 48 hour advanced notice requirement for cancellations. It was in the fine print at the bottom of the confirmation form that I finally read after being informed from my phone call to cancel. With all the charges and  non refundable cancellations, the room wound up costing 2x the normal rate. Lesson learned, hopefully you’ll pay attention closely when reserving a room yourself.

Meanwhile, we were okay last night - bouncy of we both slept well. Wednesday night would be a different story with winds increasing as Nicole approached landfall. So we took a room on land and plant do return to Fleetwing on Thursday late morning. Everything is double and triple tied off as best we could. 

Despite the storm, there will always be a few that stay on their boats. Forrest is one such individual, he’ll  look after Fleetwing between gusts of wind. On Friday, we plan on having Fleetwing hauled to replace a through hull that’s leaking. Then it’s time to get ready to leave Fleetwing while we go north for the holidays but this year at least we have our own car for the trip north. 

We’re relaxing in motel room hoping all is fine with Fleetwing in the morning. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Titusville - lines, lines and more lines


As secure as we can make it 

All the news is of the hurricane approaching, Nicole. The forecasted track has been wobbling, sometimes more northerly towards us and sometimes farther away. We await every update with eager anticipation. I have double and triple lines out and I think I now have Fleetwing centered in the slip so I don’t touch any of the pilings. A hurricane force wind may upset those plans but all you can do is the best you can. 

A long walk for Hoolie, sometimes he doesn’t make it all the way

We will be on Fleetwing tonight but we plan to be on land when Nicole makes landfall. I’ve left the instruments on so I will be able to recover what the maximum winds were at Fleetwing, not that it makes much difference, we are committed to our location. 

There will still be some people still on their boats during the hurricane’s passage, the long timers. Many of them rode out Ian and intend to ride out Nicole too. We plan on returning to Fleetwing Thursday if the winds have abated enough and then will have a haulout to address a nagging leak in the aft section. 

It’s a wild night out there now but nothing like it’s going to be when Nicole rubbles through on Wednesday night. We’re hoping for the best.

Monday, November 7, 2022

Titusville - I present to the Great Harbour Trawler Association (GHTA)


They had a large and enthusiastic group!

I got a call from the president of the GHTA earlier this year with a request to present to his annual meeting in November in Gainsville, Florida. Since I was going to be in Titusville anyway and the timing fit in with my stay there, I agreed. 

The second session was in the use of Bob423 Tracks - many people followed along on their iPads

It was a 2.5 hour drive from Titusville so I started out late morning for my 1:00 presentation with Going South (on the status of the ICW) and at 2:00 on how to use Bob423 tracks. The room was packed and I met many cruisers that were already familiar with my GPX tracks for the ICW. The ICW status they got was an updated version of the one I gave at Homer Smith and Regatta Point YC in October. I think it went over well.

The big news here is the coming storm, Nicole. Landfall is predicted to be just south of us on the east coast of Florida but not until Thursday. We are planning to find a place to stay Wednesday and Thursday on land and leave Fleetwing double and triple tied up. I’ll spend Tuesday morning trying to find a place that will take a 45 lb dog along with us. We have a car, so transportation is not an issue, wish us luck.

I can certainly say that the cruise south this year has not been dull!

Sunday, November 6, 2022

Titusville - we visit Black Point


About the only bird of note we saw on the Black Point drive

We always like to drive through Black Point when in Titusville. The area is on a flyway for bird migration and there’s usually lots of birds - but not today. We saw less than a dozen on the entire drive. The prize is to see a spoonbill with its pink coloration but we didn’t see a one. We saw more birds in the park by Titusville on the way back than in Black Point. 

A beautiful Trumpy, a wooden boat with class - stunning

We did get out flu shot, just a walk-in at the nearest CVS - no problem. Aside that all that excitement, we waiting to see which direction the soon-to-be hurricane takes. So far, it’s headed for landfall just 50 miles south of us and then it’s due to take a northerly turn over the top of us. Such joy that we get to experience Florida weather in November - which is almost never a hurricane that time of the year. We are participating in a rare event, we’re told. We are not thankful. 

So today was taken up doubling the lines and taking jump slack. We are in a protected part of the marina but high winds will get us  no matter where we’re at. At least we have a car to escape in if need be, stay tuned. 

Saturday, November 5, 2022

Titusville - provisioning day and our car arrives!

We’re starting to get flower production in town!

This morning was a wake up call at 2:45 am to take Terry to the Orlando airport for his return flight to Deltaville. The airport was still busy, it never sleeps, apparently. It was a maze of right turns, left turns, go straight, etc. But the GPS was flawless in directing us on the right path to the departing terminal. They’ve made improvements over the years - it didn’t used to be that good when I was flying to Europe and Japan.

We have a front row seat on the cockpit of Fleetwing every night

A storm is coming, a nor’easter, at least the southern version of one. In preparation, we had groceries delivered to the back of our car at Walmart. We order, they do the shopping and load them in the car - at no charge. However, they didn’t have their act together as well as in the past and missed a few items. Still, it’s no hassle shopping.

I got the boat prepared for the 20 to 30 knot winds expected starting Tuesday. It’s due to blow for the next three days after that. We have the best slip in the marina for protection from high winds so we’re okay. On the downside, it looks like I won’t get the boat hauled for replacing a through hull, oh well. I think I need a backup plan.

Friday, November 4, 2022

Titusville - Our car arrives!


We’re facing west so we get a sunset every night!

When returning from Titusville to New York for the holidays, we like to rent a car one-way to Deltaville and then pick up our car which we left there at the beginning of our trip. The operative term there is “one-way”. When I called Enterprise and Hertz to reserve a car, I was told there were no cars available for one-way rental. I could rent a car for the entire two months of my northern visit but that is now rather expensive at $3600 for Enterprise (we used to do just that for $1200). 

We’ve been playing hopscotch with Heidi along the ICW. He does not have an outboard, it’s all rowing for him. 

So what to do? I called the marina where we left our Nissan and asked if anyone there would drive our car one-way and then catch a flight back north for a fee. I got a volunteer and he started out this morning at 4:45 am from Deltaville and arrived at Titusville at 6:15 pm. 

We are overjoyed at having our own car to drive north. I’ll take Terry to the airport Saturday morning for his flight. The purpose of this long explanation is that there must be other people in the same predicament. Terry is willing to do the same service for others in need of a one-way trip. Just drop me a line and I’ll tell you the terms, they are not cheap but still less expensive than any alternative if you need a car one-way. 

Meanwhile, there’s a storm coming and people are seeking shelter It’s not due for another couple of days but one needs to be securely tied up with the rains and winds coming. I need a haulout to repair a slow leak in the aft section and my timing was excellent. The day and time of haulout looks like it will coincide exactly with the peak of the storm! We’ll watch that closely, groan. 

Thursday, November 3, 2022

Titusville - at last

Nice sunrise at Bethune Park anchorage

 We weighed anchor around 8:30 at Bethune Park anchorage and, as usual, the chain was very muddy. If you use this anchorage, you ought to have an wash down pump for the chain. The holding is fine and there’s plenty of room and it comes with a dinghy dock - but the bottom is very muddy. 

“A” dock is full!

Today was probably the windiest day of our trip but it was all behind us from the north so it had little effect. No surprises on the Bob423 track, all as expected. When we approached the Haulover Canal bridge, the channel was full of manatees! We usually pass through this area without seeing even one manatee but today there were about a dozen and several were right in the middle of the channel - we had to go around. Maybe it’s due to the very warm weather?

So is “B” dock - everything is full! It’s hard to find a dock in Florida

We are tied up at Titusville Marina for November through the January 15th when we leave for Key West. We met many old friends from previous years and are settling in. We have a driver who’s bringing our car south from Deltaville to here since neither Hertz nor Enterprise would rent a car one-way. He’s arriving Friday and I’ll take him to the airport early Saturday morning for the return trip. 

It’s nice to be in Titusville - warm weather!

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Bethune Park Anchorage in Daytona - at anchor


A good sized sailboat that came ashore at Bethune Park anchorage

Another beautiful motoring day with full sun, warm winds, and flat water. No surprises on the Bob423 track, everything was tame. We dropped anchor at Bethune Park, one of our favorite anchorages since it’s uncrowded and has shore access with a free dinghy dock. 

Boat number two sank at the dock, making it unusable

However, there were several boats that came ashore during hurricane Ian. One is snugged up against one of the two dinghy docks making it non-operational with a Keep Out sign prominently displayed. Another large two spreader sailboat is up against shore. I can understand how some towns are tired of having to remove these boats which the owners abandon. 

The north dock was chained off, the south dock was still okay

Meanwhile, it’s a quiet night and we’re set for our last day on Thursday when we’re due into Titusville for the next so months.Our Genset is currently not working so we’re depending upon cooling winds tonight for a comfortable rest. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

St Augustine - at a dock

St Augustine has nice docks - no storm damage that we could see

 No surprises along the Bob423 track today. It was another sunny, calm day - super nice
traveling south. We passed several dredgers today but they were traveling, not  dredging. They must be getting ready to go to work, I hope.l 

The restaurant just south of the marina that was destroyed by a hurricane is being rebuilt

We were traveling just south of Jacksonville this morning when we saw the faint trail of the Falcon Heavy liftoff. It was far in the distance and hard to see. I took a picture but it didn’t show much. It’s four in a row for the heavy lifter!

We met friends we knew from the days I was in the Air Force in Colorado in the ‘68 to ‘72 time period. Boy have we ever changed! I think being on a boat keeps you young, requiring you to keep nibble. The boat is always moving so you’re always bracing yourself, balancing, and using your muscles. We intend to keep boatings as long as we can. 

We’re off to the Bethune anchorage on Wednesday and then on to Titusville the next day! Time flies!

The bird is giving us the “eye”. Lots of birds around the marina, fishing.

Monday, October 31, 2022

Jacksonville Free Docks at Sisters Creek - at the free dock


At $3/ft, not many takers at Fernandina, FL

No surprises along the Bob423 track but I wills still modify the track for more leeway in avoiding growing shoals. Docking at Sisters Creek was exciting as always. We were able to secure the mid cleat but the forward line fell in the water. Ann powered forward and with the midship cleat secured, Fleetwing came to the dock and I grabbed the forward line. 

There’s no reason to go around at Cumberland Divides (MM 703.5), like this guy. Just follow the Bob423 track!

Everything worked out in the end and we are now securely tied up for the night. We met another couple that came in later and traded stories, a great pastime on the ICW. Later on, Terri came by who has been our weather guru for the trip. She watches all the wether reports and alerts us to upcoming weather to avoid. With her advice, we made it to Jekyll Island a day earlier than planned and weathered the high winds at a sheltered dock. 

On Tuesday, we’re off to St Augustine for  a day. We had planned on staying two days but the marina there is still repairing their docks and can’t allow boaters to occupy at slip for more than one day since the slip may need repair minus any reservation for that dock. 

After that, it’s two days to Titusville and our December home for Fleetwing until we return in January when we’ll move on to Key West. 

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Jekyll Harbor Marina - last day


Jekyll Island has outstanding beaches! There’re mostly empty in the off season.

We took one of the golf carts today to the mini-supermarket, the only grocery store on Jekyll Island. It’s a cross between a general store with everything and a small supermarket. The selection is quite wide with tastes to fit everybody. We stocked up on milk, eggs, orange juice, and other staples We won’t have to shop again until Titusville.

No shortage of very large powerboats!

One would think that there wouldn’t be as many large powerboats given the high diesel costs but you wouldn’t think that by looking at what’s in the marina, several huge boats. There’s always been enough diesel wherever we’ve been, albeit at a high price, currently at $5.40 here. 

I guess I could look up the name of the type of grass - it’s been planted alongside many of the sidewalks.

We saw the sun today for the first time since Friday when the storms came through. The temps peak out in the 70s and since we’re close to Florida, the lows don’t get below 60 anymore. We will leave early to get a  good start for the Jacksonville free dock on Sister’s Creek, hopefully, there will be room. We are due to meet up with friends for wine on the back of Fleetwing, fun!

Saturday, October 29, 2022

Jekyll Harbor Marina - at a dock


There must be a world of smells that we are totally unaware of - but to a dog… 

The winds picked up today and we didn’t even see the sun, kind of a raw day. Ann painted in the cockpit and I worked on a presentation I’m making to the Great Harbor association of powerboats and to AIWA, Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway Association, meeting in Norfolk in November. We kept the small heaters going all day to keep the chill away - it got down into the 60s!!

In addition to the free golf carts, the marina also offers free bikes

With all our homework done, Sunday will be a day of exploring Jekyll Island. We’ll take advantage of the free golf carts that the marina maintains and see what the island has to offer. We know there’s a small supermarket in town for odds and end and then there’s the beach we’ll want to see. Ann has a list of necessities we need for provisions, hopefully the “supermarket” will have what we need. 

After our mini vacation, we’re off to the Jacksonville free dock on Monday. We will be skipping Fernandina since we’re so close here in Jekyll. We plan on arriving in Titusville on Thursday if all goes according to plan. 

Friday, October 28, 2022

Jekyll Harbor Marina - at a dock

Every dog needs a good resting place after a hard day of guarding the boat!

 The marina has two washers and two dryers, very modern front loaders so we took advantage of the feature and did a laundry today. I was trying to track down a small leak but wanted to rid the bilge of stray water first. The primary pump for the bilge doesn’t dewater the entire boat. For that I use an extension from the aft shower but that decided not to work today, for some reason. I think it was just being ornery. 

A nice sunset and a pretty boat in silhouette   

I couldn’t easily fix the issue so nothing was done today. I’ll tackle the slow leak Saturday morning. I think it’s coming from the swim platform locker which is below the water level when motoring, connected to a drain that’s underwater. I bought a fiber optic scope attachment form the iPad so I can place the end of the scope to see where the leak is coming from, at least that’s the plan.

We had dinner at Zachry’s Riverside Restaurant which was packed as usual with a waiting list. However, at 5:00 we got in without a wait. They do a good job on fish sandwiches but they have a wide variety of items on their menu. 

I’ll try out my new toy Saturday morning to, hopefully, fine the leak.

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Jekyll Harbor Marina - at a dock


We’re the fourth boat from the right

There’s a storm coming on Friday and Saturday so we decided to make a run for it to Jekyll. That involved leaving at 7:00 am before the sun came up, an early start that we’re not fond of. Nevertheless, we got off on time and headed south. 

I promised Ann a night out at Zachry’s River House, a great local restaurant

We passed through Little Mud River and the shallowest I saw was 5.6 MLLW on the Bob423 track. Jekyll was a little shallower at 4.7 MLLW, less than what I saw in spring at 6.2 MLLW for Jekyll. The weather was once again perfect for traveling so we made good time, arriving at Jekyll by 3:30 pm. 

At least the lift bridge is long gone. Why are all ICW bridges this way?

We are beat! Jekyll Harbor Marina is full! We got an inside dock since that’s all that was available. I have a list of chores to do which includes tracking down a persistent leak in the aft section of Fleetwing. I got a fiber optic scope attachment for my iPad to try finding out where exactly the leak is coming from. The fiber optic extension can snake into small areas that I couldn’t see otherwise.

We’ll be here until Monday, a mini-vacation in an area that’s fun to explore with the free golf carts provided the the marina. Hopefully, I can find that leak!

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Kilkenny Marina - at a dock


A walk for Hoolie on a wooded lane

We were motoring along with the intention of spending the night at Kilkenny Marina, then at the Crescent River anchorage before moving on to Jekyll Island. We received a note from our weather expert, Terri, that a storm was coming on Friday so we changed our plans. Now we’ll make it a long day on Thursday and get into Jekyll late so we’re secure for the expected high winds from the coming storm.Many thanks to Terri for watching out for us. She described it as a “mini nor’easter”. 

It’s the huge trees I find fascinating - with the horizontal branches

So here we sit in Kilkenny as the only boat on the docks. Where is everybody? We didn’t need diesel but the price here is $5.30/gallon. The prices along the ICW are all over the place. It pays to shop around.;

All alone on our dock

This whole area used to be a plantation and the huge live oaks shows are still around. I marvel at the long branches that extend horizontally instead of at an angle upwards. The woods is purported to be very strong and was sought after for building ships in the early days of the Union. 

We will need to be on the water and moving by 7:00 am, before the sun is above the horizon. It’s a “get up and go” day for us.

Along the way, we saw a rare green and white buoy with a green bottom and a white top. I’ve got to look up what it means… 

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Savannah Bend - at a dock

Good morning! Where’s land? (we’re on the end at far left)

 We woke up in Maine this morning! Perhaps the fog was not quite as thick as in Maine but we could barely see shore from our boat dock. We didn’t have all that far to go so we could afford to wait until it cleared, somewhat. It wasn’t until noon that it was completely gone. I turned on the radar which worked perfectly (surprise, surprise). We were all alone in the fog (no other idiots out!)

We spotted a moving bird resting place on our way

After the fog lifted, it was another fine day with calm winds and temps in the 70s. There were no surprises along the way as far as the Bob423 track was concerned. We reached Savannah Bend by 3:30 and tied up to the fuel dock. The marina here is fine. I had wanted to dock at Thunderbolt but they were full.

The Causton Lift bridge has been left in the up position - but not all the way! Be careful! 

We’ll just spend the night and move on to Kilkenny Marina in the morning, only 22 NM farther south, passing through Hell Gate in the process. 

A nice sunset in Savannah, a peaceful end to the day