Saturday, December 19, 2009

What do These Two Creatures Have in Common?

Surprisingly there have not been many comments on this, I will just tell you that it's their rugged good looks and sexy crooked smile. OK, so maybe only one of them has those qualities and they probably don't actually have much in common...

A prize for the winning entry!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Rocky Voyage Followed by a Blustery Day

Well, we are off…again. It feels like we have had a few false starts, but, as one of my favorite sayings goes…”We cannot adjust the wind, but we can adjust our sails.” I suppose that’s what this lifestyle means; you just have to take what is presented to you. After much anguished evaluation of all the weather forecasts offered by NOAA, Weather Underground, Wind Finder, Passage Maker etc, we decided to take the ocean route to skip over the shallows of Georgia and head directly down to Florida. It can be very frustrating to track the weather with a plan in mind since the information changes on an hourly basis. What looks great for an ocean hop can easily change to a different picture a few hours later. But, the forecast held out for our departure on Monday afternoon, albeit borderline OK in my opinion. That allowed us one last lovely day with David and Gini. We relaxed, had another great dinner, watched the Dallas Cowboys get beaten (poor Gini) and topped off the evening with a movie. I also made yet another batch of peanut butter candy. We have developed a serious addiction to the stuff, thanks to Angie and KC, which I am not sure we can beat.

We left Callawassie at 1:30 PM on Monday December 8th using the high tide to safely navigate away from the pier and out the Colloton River. David was there and waved as we pulled away with all of us feeling just a little choked up. As we headed down the river, doing almost 10 knots with the receding tide, we were escorted by the Callawassie dolphins! Yes, I had been waiting for them to race the boat ever since first sighting them in North Carolina. Although we had seen many from afar, they never approached the boat. I supposed they were just too busy working to catch their dinner; that maybe the bad economy had left them no time to play. At long last, in Callawassie they came out in throngs. We would see them in the distance and as if they were curious, they would come over and then start swimming along the bow of the boat. This happened at least six times. Usually 2 or three would arrive and once there were five! It is so thrilling to watch them swerve back and forth under the boat and sometimes jump out of the water. I just can’t get enough of it. Then as quickly as they arrive, they abruptly veer off and disappear under the water.

Knowing that the wind was forecast to be 15-20 knots and the waves 3-5 feet, we left from Port Royal Sound into the ocean. The conditions were as predicted (or a little worse in my opinion) and we were in for a rough ride through the night with the waves meeting is on the stern quarter. This means that the boat rocks…a lot. Even letting out the mainsail didn’t really help much. If you are checking on our SPOT you may have noticed we zigzagged a few times through the night trying to get a better angle on the waves. Finally we just hunkered down and road it out for 14 hours. I have definitely decided that I do not like overnight crossings, unless there is a full moon and waves of 2 feet or less, which does not seem to be what we get. But, we arrived at Cumberland Sound safely and feeling very weary. Unfortunately, we were about an hour early and had to circle in the rough water waiting for the sun to come up as we will not transit an inlet in the dark (KC picked up on this when he checked out SPOT and thought we might have had a navigational mishap). It seemed like the sun would never rise, but once it did we safely navigated through St. Mary’s Inlet and anchored at Fernandina Beach FL.

We then set to work cleaning up the boat. Try as I might, I just can’t seem to successfully batten down all the hatches. I was sure I had it this time, but while underway our nav station chair mysteriously managed to break away from its’ bungee and both computers flew off the desk along with papers and other paraphernalia. Luckily everything survived undamaged. Once we cleared the clutter we had a hot shower and hit the sack where we both slept soundly for the next 3 hours. We then ventured ashore and were greeted by a lovely historic little town all lit up for Christmas. Today we again went to the town and I had a bit of time to shop between having lunch and ice cream. I actually purchased 5 presents! We also checked out the Palace Saloon, in a building built 1878. The saloon has been in continuous operation since 1903, the longest in Florida, and the bar and woodwork are original. The story goes that during prohibition the owner secretly stashed $60,000 of booze in a boat in the harbor and served in the house of ill repute above the ice cream store!

It has been a very blustery day but fun to be in a new place again…it feels like the adventure finally continues! Tomorrow we head south in the shelter of the ICW with St. Augustine the planned destination. Right now a thunderstorm is approaching…better go batten down the hatches!

Note: I included a picture of our ceiling so you can appreciate Lynn's beautiful workmanship!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Suspended Animation

That is the state it feels like we have been in for the past 11 days. If you have been following Coyote SPOT you will have noticed it has not budged in quite a while. After wondering if we would stay in Beaufort through Thanksgiving, we have been here for that, plus 9 days! As a result of enjoying ourselves, waiting out yet another storm and having generator woes, we have managed to significantly overstay our welcome here at David and Gini's. Just kidding, they have been incredibly gracious hosts despite our extended visit. I told them we may just stay here forever! I think they are starting to believe me. We have definitely had our boat at the River Club longer than anticipated and have been drawing the attention of the local residents since we are almost certainly the largest vessel thay have seen docked there. They don't seem to mind though and it has been fun being the subject of discussion!

It has been a very nice time here. David had surgery recently and has thankfully been fairing very well. He and Lynn have had a great time just hanging around together...the two of them can putz for hours! You all know what Lynn is like...can you imagine two of the same time?!

After recovering from Thanksgiving dinner, we have been spending our time living the good life. This has involved lunches at the club and cocktails with friends (the Potrykus')...visits to local community fairs and yoga in the in lovely southern towns like Bluffton and Beaufort...leisurely morning breakfasts and walks along the golf course...a festive evening in Beaufort with a Christmas tree lighting and the Paris Island Marine Band playing dixieland-style carols. This is all the regular routine for David and Gini (plus golf thrown in!). I can't believe how quickly the days go by. I really can't remember how I managed to find time for work. I guess I will have to do that again in the not-so-distant future, but for now I am thoroughly enjoying this time out.

When Lynn and I were finally ready to tear ourselves away from this life of luxury, we spent a few days getting the boat back in order, which included Lynn diligently changing the oil in the engine and the generator. All went swimingly until he discovered that a breaker switch had broken in the process. No generator, no power. Uh OH! So, the next two days were spent in a race against time on our battery charge to track down the necessary breaker...a typically unusual, expensive, hard-to-come-by, marine-style 42 amp breaker that is. He finally contacted someone who could help by overnighting the part to us. It arrived this morning and we were back in business in a few hours after Lynn deftly reinstalled it with surgeon-like precision in the usual cramped space. We held our breaths as we started up the unit and shouted out with a big hurray when it purred into action. Whew...just in time to prevent the thaw of all our meat provisions!

So, I have checked the weather and it is looking good for an ocean hop from Port Royal Sound to Cumberland Sound in Florida. It will take about 18 hours and we should arrive there on Monday morning...yippee! After such a long wait we have started to lose our sea legs and some of our momentum. It is definitely time to be going again. But, we will be sad to say goodbye to David and Gini and really can't begin to thank them enough for helping us out while here and offering us their home.