Captains Log: 11/30/05 – Titusville, Florida

We’re on our way again! We left Brunswick, Georgia on the chilly morning of Sunday, November 20th on the heels of a passing cold front. Since the front had kicked up the seas and brought colder temperatures, we decided to travel on the ICW. We made great time with the help of 15-20 knot northerly winds. Highlights of our first day out included, but were not limited to, the following: waves breaking over the bow as we crossed Jekyll Sound; Lisa wearing purple and teal socks on her hands in lieu of gloves; and running aground on the south side of Nassau Island as we sought out an anchorage for the night. Regarding that last point – while the local fisherman watched curiously, Rod revved the throttle and I jumped up and down on the bow sprit. Miraculously, we got off the shoal and moved quickly back into the ICW to seek out a deeper spot to drop the hook. Just a few miles further we spent the night in a beautiful and peaceful anchorage in front of the Kingsley Plantation/Park.

We got an early start the next morning, after Rod pulled up the anchor using the ABI windlass that he installed in Brunswick. Yay!!! It worked like a charm, and Rod returned to the cockpit with a smile on his face rather than the usual anchor-raising-back-pain-grimace. We made great time to St. Augustine due to the winds picking up and after much discussion we decided to anchor for the night in a popular spot just off the city wall and north of the Bridge of Lions. The city and bridge were so beautiful with the holiday lights aglow and the sunset was amazing with what we later learned to be a “sucker hole” on the horizon. Rod thought the approaching cold front had sidestepped us as we looked at the clearing sky as the sun went down. Just an hour later we actually heard the weatherman refer to what we saw as a sucker hole – a term used by sailors to describe conditions that make it appear the front has passed when it is really yet to arrive. And boy howdy, did it arrive. We had a restless night as 30+ knot winds would hit the boat and heel it over. We would both get up to confirm the anchor was holding and that we were in the same place. On the bright side, this night was a good test of our heavier ground tackle we added in Brunswick (45 lb. CQR anchor and 150 ft. of 3/8” high tensile chain). The boat didn’t move an inch beyond it’s swinging radius in the wind and current.

Another early start on Tuesday morning and we made the 7:30a.m. opening of the Bridge of Lions that allowed us to continue south. On the other side of the bridge, where other boats were anchored, we passed one wayward sailboat that apparently had drug it’s anchor in the night and had landed across the channel hugging an ICW channel marker. There appeared to be nobody on the boat, so we continued on our way and later heard the Coast Guard on channel 16 trying to get information on the vessel. On this day our biggest challenge was the extremely low tide that never seemed to flow back in on it’s schedule due to the strong westerly winds of the front. We bumped the bottom along the way, we heard other accounts of the same on channel 16, and then just north of Daytona we passed a sailboat just 5 feet outside the channel that was hard aground. Daytona was our destination for the night and with no good anchorage options in the area, we decided to stay in the Daytona Marina. Conveniently located on the same property, even sharing the same building with the marina office, was a Chart House! We thought we should reward ourselves with a night out and enjoy the famous Chart House salad bar. It was great and they didn’t even notice all the filled Ziploc baggies I left with. J We had a nice visit with the crew of s/v Nobadeer, a stunning green hulled Mariner 47 ketch. Alec and Lori, and their kids Laura and Andrew, were taking their boat to the Bahamas to leave it there until they could fly back to it for Christmas with the rest of their family. We look forward to the possibility of seeing them again in the Islands over the holidays!

On Wednesday, November 23 we left Daytona under clear skies, bright sunshine, and the promise of warmer temperatures. Rod had to expertly maneuver Lucky Peek out of the slip we had stayed in the night before, and that proved to be the biggest challenge of a somewhat uneventful day. We traveled through Mosquito Lagoon, where we were entertained by dolphins and manatees and a large variety of birds. So, I guess for being “uneventful” it was very pleasant! We arrived in Titusville around 4pm and again Rod impressed onlookers with his ability to calmly put the boat in the slip without incident. We washed down Lucky Peek and celebrated our arrival with an SVT (Sundowner Vodka Tonic). We made it in time to have Thanksgiving dinner the following day with the Conrads! Amazing how the lure of turkey and dressing over say, Spam, can motivate one to travel great distance.

Thanksgiving day with the Conrads turned into a four-day stay at their house. That’s probably the last time they invite us over for a holiday! We had a great turkey day dinner and over the next few days we enjoyed their company, we enjoyed their guest bedroom, and we even enjoyed the marathon game of Trivial Pursuit.

We will be here in Titusville until early next week (first week of December) when we will continue south to West Palm, which should take no more than three days. We plan to anchor in Lake Worth, the body of water off of West Palm Beach, where we will wait for a favorable weather window to make the crossing to the Bahamas. Hopefully, that will be a relatively short stay. We will post another update when we are on the move again.

Missing Family and Friends and Adjusting to the New Life

So far one of the most difficult aspects of this journey has been homesickness. We miss the regular interactions with family/friends/co-workers and are learning how to spend our time together without a daily work routine that takes us away from each other – providing varied topics for conversation over dinner. Our new routine was drastically different and we had to adjust to it. Slowing down in Brunswick aggravated this because we weren’t experiencing something new every day as we had been in the first three months of being constantly on the move. Both of us slid into a slump but through discussion realized the common cause. We embarked on this adventure for many reasons, one of which was to experience personal growth. We were feeling the growing pains and luckily we felt the relief of overcoming this particular bump through acknowledgment and understanding. (Rod just did an editorial review and said this sounded too much like Dr. Phil. Not being a fan of Dr. Phil…. Well, actually, I really can’t stand Dr. Phil…. this made me gag and want to change the entry. I’ve modified it some, but it still does sound a bit Dr. Phil-ish. Sorry.)

One of the best parts of slowing down in Brunswick has been making new friends. We have met a variety of interesting people that have been a wealth of knowledge as well as just plain enjoyable to be around. Some folks are fellow cruisers waiting out the hurricane season in preparation of heading South or to the Bahamas for the winter. Some live on their boats as residents and working citizens of the Brunswick area. Some live/work elsewhere and visit their boats on the weekends. All have been a pleasure to get to know and their eagerness to help us with whatever we need has been most appreciated.

Are we ever going to leave Brunswick?

Yes! We are now in final preparation mode to start heading south. Today is November 2, 2005 and we are planning to leave Brunswick within the next two weeks. Our plan is to head to Palm Beach, Florida, where we will wait, anchored at an area called Lake Worth, for a favorable weather window to make the crossing over to the Bahamas. It is 54 miles from Palm Beach to West End, Grand Bahama. Not far, but crossing the 25 mile wide Gulf Stream is a major milestone for most sailors. It will take us between 10 and 15 hours to make this short distance. We will stop at Grand Bahama and then spend the next three days traveling on to the Abacos, which are on the east side of the Bahama Bank. At this point, we are planning to spend the winter cruising the Abacos. Once we are there, we may decide to continue further south to explore Eleuthera and the Exumas (all part of the Bahamas). We will see once we get there where the wind takes us.