What began as what we refer to as a Bargain Safari, ended up including a side of tourism in St. Augustine. We were motivated to visit St. Augustine again, this time by car, after we learned of a store called the Sailors Exchange, where one could find good deals on used and new equipment. It’s basically like a salvage yard. A boater’s dream! At Sailors Exchange we bought Sunbrella cloth for a deck shade and other projects at approximately 60% of the normal retail price per yard. We also bought enough Triple B chain to replace and increase the length of our current primary anchor chain. This too was at a very good price. During our 4 hour scavenge at Sailors Exchange Rod found a welding shop next door where he scored a piece of stainless steel pipe needed for the windlass installation and we also learned of some local wood workers where we might get some small pieces of teak also needed for the windlass. By this time it was after 5:00 so we had to make a decision – drive the approx. 100 miles back to Brunswick and then return the next day to track down the teak, or spend a spontaneous night in St. Augustine. With the price of gas around $3.00 per gallon and our general inclination toward the spontaneous, we decided to spend the night. That decision allowed us to be tourists for the remainder of the evening and wander the quaint streets of this historic city, where Rod claimed to sense the presence of ghostly pirates. We even found the restaurant/bar in the tree, The MillTop, that Chris had told us about from their visit to St. Augustine.
Once we were mentally settled in to Brunswick after returning from Orlando, we started adding things to our project list, prioritizing, and determining where to begin. Here is a sampling from the list (yes, this is just a sampling):
Install Racor 500 fuel filter
Install solar panels
Order new sails
Install chain stopper
Install new bow deck cleat
Install manual galley pump
Move raw water strainer on engine
Determine email/weatherfax solution for Bahamas
Connect GPS to network and radio
Install deck pipe for stern anchor
Buy 4-person off-shore life-raft
Fix auto-pilot mount
Add cheek blocks and cleats to boom for reefing
Repair Mack Pack zipper
Check water in batteries
Install Monitor wind steering system
Replace mast boot
Various sewing projects – bumper covers, TV cover, sunshade, windlass cover
Get ship’s clock fixed
Polish stainless and aluminum
Polish fuel and tank
Brunswick has an active waterfront that is home to one of the largest shrimp boat fleets on the east coast and is frequented by ginormous (sic) container ships. The city is similar to Lewiston, Idaho in size and smell. Koch Cellulose operates a large pulp mill in the area that provides an aroma that is only rivaled by the daily low tide. While Brunswick is not a large city, is does offer convenient shopping for most of the items we need for our projects. We tend to frequent Home Depot, Wal-Mart, West Marine, and Boaters World along with the various specialty metal shops to locate items for our projects. The Colonial Mall offers some other typical Mall shops as well as a movie theater that we’ve gone to a couple of times. There are no Albertson’s in Brunswick, so we do our grocery shopping at Publix or Winn-Dixie. They even carry “Idaho Potatoes”!
Slow down, you move too fast…. You got make the morning last…
After sailing over 1000 miles in the initial 6 weeks of our adventure, we’ve certainly slowed our traveling pace since arriving in Brunswick, Georgia at the end of August. And that’s not just because we’re fitting in with the southern style, even though that happens to be our roots. My (Lisa’s) great grandmother was from the neighboring state of Tennessee. Her name was Sidney Lier Bolton, being named after a famous poet of the 19th century, Sydney Lanier, who was from Macon, Georgia. One of his most famous pieces of work, “The Marshes of Glynn”, was written here in Brunswick (Glynn County). We sailed under the massive Sidney Lanier bridge on our way in to Brunswick! I had no idea I was arriving in a place that had such a connection to one of my ancestors!
When we first arrived in Brunswick, we intended on sitting tight for a week or so while Hurricane Ophelia determined her path. As that initial week passed and we used that time for some exploration of the area and for making extensive lists of what we wanted to do to get the boat ready for the winter in the Bahamas, we made the decision to not continue north any further and to wait out the remainder of the very active hurricane season in this relatively safe harbor. This non-travel period would allow us the necessary time to check off the items from our growing list of projects.
Since this lengthy log entry captures a variety of activities and projects since arriving in Brunswick, it is divided into sections for easier perusal.
We just want to let everyone know that we are still safe and hunkered down in a marina in Brunswick, Georgia, where we plan to remain until the weather begins to moderate. Tropical storm Ophelia is stalled off the East coast of Central Florida and predicted to move slowly North or Northwest before turning back out to sea. We are keeping a close watch. Other active hurricanes in the Atlantic, Nate and Maria, pose no threat to us.
After returning from Savannah we did something that Rod had never experienced before. We rode a Greyhound bus. Hey, we’re all about having new experiences on this adventure! We had ordered solar panels for the boat and had arranged for them to be sent to Chris and Susan’s house, since we weren’t sure where we were going to be. We needed to pick them up and retrieve the Trooper from their house so we could have transportation while being temporary residents of Brunswick, Georgia. Which, by the way, when we rented the car for the Savannah trip we discovered Brunswick to be considerably larger than the struggling historic downtown district that we had access to on foot! The Greyhound bus trip was uneventful but there are very interesting folks that seem to hang out at bus stations. Thanks to Chris, we didn’t have to linger with the crack dealers at the Orlando station very long before he was there to pick us up. We spent a couple of days visiting with them and then drove the Trooper back to Brunswick.