Trip Log - Pg 7

November 01, 2011 to November 07, 2011

November 01, 2011

It’s preparation for Ocean day!!!

But first a rant on mold:

I hate mold and Steve is allergic to it. So, I’ve gone through some lengths to avoid getting it like spending a ridiculous amount of money on mold resistant linens, packing everything in plastic bags and cleaning with Javex or phosphorus free cleaning products. However, since it is so cold at night condensation develops where we sleep – walls and windows. Most mornings, water drips off the celling, right on our faces!!

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Condensation in the berth…

Steve pointed this out yesterday… 

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Yup – that’s mold alright by the window. If it’s growing there, where there is SOME ventilation, then it’s probably growing elsewhere as well.

Steve and I quickly went on a mold hunt armed with a bleach/water solution in a spray bottle. We found it in cupboards, the wet locker and a few other places but only in the back half of the boat – which is great. Needless to say, our morning was spent cleaning – the boat is now spotless and smells GREAT!!!

After lunch, we went to work. I went into town to do laundry and get a 20lbs bag of ice J while Steve had to secure everything on deck and review our charts so we can plot our course later on this evening.

By 2200hrs, we were ready to go. Course plotted, dingy secured on deck, overboard bag packed and snacks prepared. It is approximately 125 miles which should take about 28 hours. The winds are North-North-East, shifting to East by Wednesday evening – 10 to 15 knots. The winds are high but it’s nothing Diana can’t handle. We are expecting South winds by Thursday evening so we need to be anchored safely in Fernandina beach before then. By my calculations we should be at the inlet anywhere between 0830hrs and 0930hrs.

Sadly, the Ice Lighthouse was not in operation…what a letdown ;) Fortunately the marina had lots of ice J

We will leave the anchorage by 0830hrs to get to the bridge in time for its 0900hrs opening.

November 02, 2011 and November 03, 2011

We were through the bridge by 0900hrs and headed to the Downtown Marina for fuel and water.

I have no pictures to describe our ocean passage so I will do my best with words.

This passage had the strongest winds and the highest waves we have ever experienced. We don’t have a lot of experience but we did sail through a tropical storm in 2006 and this passage is 2nd to that. The big difference is that this one was during the day with no rain and the winds were not as strong but the waves were just as big. They were anywhere from 6 to 10 feet all day and night!! We tried our best to capture it on video but it’s almost impossible to capture something like water in pictures or on video.

The day was sunny and clear. Coming out of the Port Royal inlet was really exciting and really SCARY for me. Steve loves every minute while it takes me a little longer to acclimatize to this sort of movement. I am very happy to have my anti-nausea patch!! The wind was high and the waves were big and hitting at us on the beam making the inlet a really rough ride –like hang-on-to-something-at-all-times kind of ride. It was my shift at the helm so I faced a few fears today and didn’t chicken out. I can honestly say I’m a sailor now!! AND having fun!! All I need to learn is how to dock a sailboat and I’ll be all set ;)

Once out of the inlet and heading south again the ride was a little smoother with the wind and waves more behind us. Downwind sailing is more comfortable but it requires a lot of focus (not my strong suit) and is less forgiving if you fall off course. We used only the jib and Yankee sail and we still averaged anywhere between 4.5 and 6.5 knots of speed – which is top speed for this little boat. At no time did we doubt Diana’s strength and ability – she is an amazing little boat J

The night was clear and bright with the glow of the moon and a sky full of stars. We could not have asked for a better weather window!! BUT what a WORKOUT!!! We could not take our hands of the wheel for one minute. We used Otto for a few minutes every hour to take down our position, course, speed and wind information for the log but that’s it.

This passage was rolly-rocky ride which made it very difficult to sleep. We could only go below to nap for an hour or so and/or just rest our eyes as the waves would actually throw us off the bench…eeks! Lee clothes would have been a good purchase…

Throughout the day and evening there was a lot of Coast Guard chatter on the VHF. Two of the more serious incidents were as follows:

1. We heard a “Pan Pan”. The Coast Guard came on the radio to advise all boats in the area to keep an eye out for a vessel in distress. A transponder or EPIRB’s as we know them, had been activated about 10 miles North of us. Unfortunately there was nothing we could do at this point as it would take us more than 2hrs to get back to the area in question. Soon after the announcement, we did see a Coast Guard vessel headed in that direction.

2. Around 0500hrs – on my watch – the Coast Guard announced that a troller called “Sweet Caroline” was taking on water near the St. Mary’s inlet. The Coast Guard was speaking with the vessel to ensure how many people were on board and if they all had life jackets. I think we know this vessel - when we were in Beaufort we noticed a nice troller by that name. We never met them but it’s still sad to know they are in trouble. By 0800hrs, the Coast guard announced that there was a submerged vessel in that same area and to avoid it – meaning the ship had sunk.

We have only met a few cruisers and/or recognized a few of the same boats on this trip so far, some at marinas, anchorages or while underway. All of us heading in the same direction and we FEEL it – that common bond that drives us all to do what we are doing. Every time we see a boat – we whip out the binoculars to see who it is. If it’s someone we recognize, it’s like we are seeing a long lost friend. We then wave to each other enthusiastically and wish each other safe passage, then continue on our way hoping to meet up again further south. To hear a boat go down is really disturbing. It reminds us how vulnerable we really are and how quickly things can go wrong if we aren’t vigilant with everything we do from being totally aware of the boats needs to accurate navigation practices and ensuring we get enough rest so we don’t make any serious mistakes.

We arrived at the St-Mary’s inlet by 0900hrs. We were safely at anchor near Drum Point by 1115hrs. We had fried egg sandwiches for breakfast or supper - dunno still feels like it’s all the same day to me. Steve had a nice cold Pepsi while I had an ice cold Coors Lite (X2) ;) We toasted our 2nd successful ocean passage then passed out around 1200hrs.

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Anchorage near Drum Point in Fernandina Beach

We woke up around 1700hrs to get cleaned up – check email – yup the house you see in the picture above has not secured their internet connection – EXCELLENT - THANK YOU J we may never leave. We went back to bed a few hours later with full bellies and a few pain meds. We are pretty sore all over.

November 04, 2011

We slept until 1200hrs!!! We are doing nothing today. Just hanging out and sucking internet from the house in front of us. The winds are really high too - 20 knots gusting to 25 knots!! We are really glad not to be on the water today. There are seven other boats in this anchorage and no one else is moving J

Tomorrow is another day!

November 06, 2011

First – I would like to make a correction – we are anchored at Cumberland Island – still on the Georgia side. We are not in Fernandina Beach yet. It was too windy to move yesterday so we stayed put. This Island is a rather large park with wild horses. We wanted to get to the island and walk around yesterday but it was too miserable. Fortunately while Steve was enjoying his morning coffee in the cockpit he spotted two wild horses on the beach. One was back with white patches and the other was a dark tan – just beautiful but I was not quick enough with my camera before they returned to the woods to take a picture. At least we can say we got to see the horses. This will be a must stop on our way back.

This anchorage is not as protected as we would have liked. It was a rough night’s sleep for both of us. The wind has been picking up speed every day since we got here. It was just howling through the rigging last night. It’s so strong that we can feel the tension on the anchor rode. Steve reviewed the emergency plan in case the anchor rode lets go – basically – turn on the engine – set out the second anchor – try to retrieve the first anchor in the morning. We made it through the night without incident.

The winds are still very high 20-25 MHP gusting to 30 MHP….nearly 50km winds. We decided to take our chances and begin to make way towards St. Augustine. If it is too rough, then we have a very protected anchorage pick out in Amelia’s River about 8 miles from here.

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Port Royal Inlet – fishing boats at anchor

It would appear to be too windy to be fishing – we counted 6 large fishing vessels at anchor in the Port Royal Inlet…Maybe it’s too windy for us to be out today too…

We crossed the inlet into Fernandina beach and the weather was not getting better. Steve was able to maintain control of the boat – the excellent helmsman that he is but made it known that we would need to find an anchorage soon.

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Rough water crossing the inlet into Fernandina Beach

We thought the closer we got into Fernandina Beach, the better it would get – but it really didn’t.Nov_06_Sail_boat_Mast_-_sunk_resized.jpg

This poor boat didn’t make it at all – yes that is just the mast you see and the rest of the boat is submerged!!!! In the background you can see about seven other boats anchored – in total there were over 20 boats in this anchorage. No body is moving today.

We anchored in Amelia’s River shortly after this…the anchorage is perfect and we can’t feel a thing!! We reviewed the weather forecast and the winds are not supposed to diminish until tomorrow or Tuesday. The winds are supposed to be gusting to 39 MHP – Gale force!! WE are happy to be safe at anchor. We have nothing more to do but have some lunch, take a nap and read a book.  We are officially in Florida J 

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Steve very relaxed at our new anchorage

November 07, 2011

It’s a cloudy, drizzly day but the winds have died to 15-20 MHP. Good enough for us. We have seen many boats making way this morning and we will not be far behind. We are anxious to get to St. Augustine. 

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Mega Yachts at dock while we crossed the St. John’s River.

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All I think of when I see these big boats is MONEY!!!! Think of the fuel alone!!! 

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More Mega Yachts…

It’s a grey day today – so while Steve was at the helm I spent the morning cleaning the cabin. It’s a good chore done because when we get the St. Augustine, it will be groceries and laundry and shopping J 

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We found where all the rich people live – near Jacksonville Beach. This whole stretch of water was lined with these big beautiful homes.

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A THREE story dock…hmph…

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Very pretty area…attached to every one of those docks is a very LARGE home…

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Scenery along the way to St. Augustine

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More scenery along the way to St. Augustine

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We anchored just outside St. Augustine around 1730hrs. We are about 10 miles away and will head there first thing in the morning.