Four days after arriving in Brunswick, we took a road trip via a rental car to celebrate our 14th wedding anniversary on August 31 in Savannah, Georgia. What an incredible city! Rich with history, amazing architecture, and tasty southern cuisine – we sampled it all. We stayed in the oldest hotel in the city, The Marshall House , which has been a hotel since 1851. Fortunately, they have updated it with modern day conveniences, but it still maintains its 19th century charm – squeaky wood floors, fireplaces in every room, ghosts, etc. We toured the historical district and learned interesting facts and lore from our trolley tour guide about the beautiful homes and squares around which the city was designed. We then explored the riverfront and downtown shopping district on our own, over-eating at “The Lady and Sons” restaurant which showcases typical southern cuisine from chef Paula Deen of the Food Network. From Savannah we took a short side trip to neighboring Tybee Island and a tour of Fort Pulaski for our requisite military history lesson of the area.
Whew! We’re out of the path of Katrina! Thanks for the phone calls and e-mails encouraging us to get our website updated on our whereabouts!
After spending two full weeks in Ft. Lauderdale, we left on Tuesday, August 16th. While there we enjoyed the sites – taking advantage of “Free Summer Admission” at the Art Museum, scouting out all the Happy Hour half price appetizer deals, and discovering Max’s Grill on the riverfront in downtown where everything on the menu is $6.99! The menu included filet mignon (which was delicious all 4 times we ordered it), and fresh grilled seafood! We traveled around the area by Water Bus and city bus (very interesting depending on the time of day) and by the end of our stay we knew our way around pretty well. Chris and Susan and Park came for a weekend visit and we set a personal record on the number of marine stores we went to over a 24 hour period of time!
While in Lauderdale Rod replaced the Air Conditioning water pump and a refrigerator guy replaced a broken part on the fridge. We also got the fuel system problem fixed – it did turn out to be a simple problem with the fuel filter. So everything is in good working order now. In a previous update I referred to our genoa sail as Jenny, and I have to give credit to Sonya Kern for coming up with the clever name we now use to refer to our engine… Forest. “Run, Forest, Run!”, we called out frequently as we left the Port Everglades channel departing Ft. Lauderdale to head further north.
We arrived at Harbortown Marina in Cape Canaveral on Friday, August 19th. This is the marina where Chris and Susan keep their sailboat and we were looking forward to the planned day of fishing on their boat that Saturday. We didn’t catch much, but they did reel in a small barracuda! We kept it since our fish book indicated that the small ones were good to eat, but then a gentleman at the marina gave a different review. So rather than being our dinner it was to be fish bait.
After leaving Canaveral on Sunday, August 21st we continued north on the ICW. We anchored in a really cool area, aptly named Mosquito Lagoon. We then enjoyed one night in St. Augustine – we definitely want to go back there! It is the oldest continuously occupied city in the continental United States, so it has a rich history. The following night we spent in Old Town of Fenandina Beach, which as first glance looked, and smelled, very industrial. But it was an interesting place! Very similar history to St. Augustine and we enjoyed strolling it’s quaint historic streets.
We arrived here in Brunswick, Georgia last night (Thursday, August 25th). We felt the effects of the storm bands from Katrina yesterday afternoon as we sailed in very wet and windy conditions. We decided with the storms in the area that we would tie up at a safe marina, which is where we are now – the Brunswick Landing Marina. We think that we will be here at least a week, as the weather forecast is for continued storms for the next 5 days. The marina is right in the heart of their revitalized downtown historic district, so we look forward to doing some exploring here.
In the next day or so we’ll work on getting some pictures on the website, but right now my minutes are ticking down on this connection at the public library. Stay tuned…
Just like the Americas Cup racers. That’s how we arrived here in Ft. Lauderdale…
We waved goodbye to the beautiful Keys last week, but not until enjoying a couple more anchorages after Boot Key. At Shell Key we tried our luck with the two-day Keys lobster mini season, but lobster was not to be on our menu. Rod did find a lobster laden trap that had lost it’s float. But since it’s clearly stated in the fishing regulations that it is a felony to take from a trap, we decided we could resist the temptation. We then spent two additional nights anchored at Elliott Key, swimming and snorkeling in the amazing water. We also thanked Zeus, Poseidon, and Neptune for protecting “Palachar” as we pulled that name off, and then asked for continued protection as we put the new letters of “Lucky Peek – Boise, ID” on the stern. It looks great!
We had thought we would stay at Elliott Key through that last weekend of July and arrive in Miami on Monday to avoid the additional weekend boat traffic. But the winds were in our favor to leave on Saturday. We sailed to Key Biscayne and anchored under sail in an anchorage in front of a house once owned by President Nixon that had a beautiful view of Miami across the bay. It was not by choice that we anchored under sail power – we do prefer to use the engine for maneuvering around other boats and then setting our anchor, but since our engine died and wouldn’t start we didn’t really have a choice. This was actually a repeat of how we had to anchor at Elliott Key. Houston, we have a problem. Rod had changed the primary fuel filter at Elliott Key, which seemed to fix the problem. Now he would change the secondary filter. Success! The engine started and ran just fine. We left Key Biscayne the following morning to sail “outside” (on the Atlantic, not the Intracoastal Waterway) to Ft. Lauderdale. We were relieved when the engine started easily that morning to help us out of the anchorage and then out the channel to the Atlantic. The winds were 10-15 knots and from the east, so we were in for a great sail north. We made good time during the first 4 hours, getting the boat sailing over 6 knots! Woo-hoo!!! The winds did drop off and shifted to the southeast which slowed our progress, but we still made it to the Port Everglades entrance channel to Ft. Lauderdale by 3:30pm. The seas were rocky from the wind and the boat traffic in the channel, but the engine started right up and we dropped the sails with confidence. That confidence lasted about 15 minutes. Then right as we are in between the break walls of the channel, our engine died. Hmmm… Not good. As in true sailor form, we shouted some choice expletives. I then used the momentum we still had to turn us into the wind so Rod could raise the main sail and unfurl the 150% genoa sail (whom we fondly refer to as “Jenny”). With the rocking waves and by now our slowed momentum, we were having difficulty getting the boat moving in the desired direction – back out to safer water. Of course, we had an audience of fisherman on the shore and onlookers from the charter fishing boats coming in around us. Then we got a personalized visit from the boys of the Coast Guard who must have been monitoring the channel from their small run-about boat. They came up alongside us and asked if everything was all right. Hmmmm… is everything all right? The answer to that was “No. Everything is not all right.” They were very, very nice and stayed at our side while we hailed the Boat US tow guys on VHF. Within just minutes the tow guys were at our side. We got the sails down, and the tow lines hooked up. Thus, our arrival in Ft. Lauderdale was just like the America’s Cup racers! They always get towed in! The only thing missing from our arrival were the cheering crowds welcoming us with sprays of champagne. Oh well. We were towed into the Bahia Mar marina, which is where we are now making arrangements for a mechanic to find the pesky air leak in our fuel system that’s causing the problem.
I should mention that the channels of Ft. Lauderdale are lined with multi-million dollar homes with mega-yachts parked out front. Their dinghies would surely cost more than our boat. We’re feeling a bit out of place here, but hey, our egos can take it. For a few days anyway. In the mean time, we are going to enjoy the local sites and rub elbows with the rich and corrupt.