Wanderlust Home and Pet Care
State #1 Florida
3/13 Arrived at the marina, met John and he gave us the royal tour of Slainte. We were in our bunk by 9 pm since we didn’t get much sleep on our red eye flight.
3/14 We attended a luncheon for old and new “Loopers”. There was one other couple that was also starting the big trip this year. We exchanged emails. Who knows our paths may cross. We also stopped at John’s attorney’s office to complete the paperwork for our 1/3 interest in Slainte.
3/15 Our first day of driving was today. The boat has great maneuverability but it was decided that Gary will do the driving and I will handle the lines.
3/16 - 4/1 We continue to drive and land the boat. During our free time, it seems we are constantly at WalMart. The gathering of our stores never seems to end. We also continue to go through the storage areas to determine what to keep and what to return to John. The boat has a lot of storage which is a very good thing.
I am trying to remember all my articles I posted on the Blog site. Here is what I remember so far but it won’t be as descriptive as the original:
Slainte is the Gaelic work for Health and can be used when toasting while drinking.
We have our Looper flag at the front of the boat for other Loopers to see. We can get together and swap stories and have “docktails” on the dock or on the deck of someone’s boat. We have met many very nice people so far.
Back to School was a large category on the Blog with several posts. I remember writing about The Capn computer software for chart plotting. We use it everyday to plot the direction we wish to drive the boat. We learned the hard way how valuable this program is to a stress free trip. We were unable to reserve a mooring ball at the Fernandina Municipal Marina. Mooring balls are very popular as they are a cheaper alternative to a slip ($15-$20 per night instead of charging by the length of the boat). We decided to continue on to St Mary, Georgia. We would use the paper charts (which happen to be 6 years old). We had been told the markers may move but the overall information is still the same. WRONG. The markers in the Cumberland Sound had been renumbered. We ended up further north than we wanted to be. The computer chart did show our location via GPS. I had to stand in tight quarters next to the computer and tell Gary to turn left/right and read out the marker numbers which appeared on the computer. It was a scary situation being in a very large body of water and feeling lost. I put this lesson learned to good use when we were trying to find an anchorage mentioned in the Cruising Guide book. The Guide book didn’t give an exact location other than it was in Walburg Creek which I found on the computer program. Only the large marinas are designated on The Capn and it never has anchorages. As we were cruising along I noticed the anchor symbol on the paper chart. The symbol was at the other end of the creek. I had Gary slow down while I quickly put in a revised route on the computer which eliminated a stressful situation. Gary could see the new route which again took us into a large body of water. The computer program is a must have.
4/2 We started our adventure early in the morning. John came with us as far as Moore Haven where his wife picked him up. The cruise was uneventful. We entered two locks which brought back happy memories of Canal Du Midi and Erie Canal. We tied up along the Moore Haven Municipal dock wall.
4/3 We had a lock first thing in the morning. The Okeechobee Lake was our first experience with a large body of water. In fact it’s the 2nd largest body of fresh water in the U.S. We put the peddle to the metal, watched the computer plotter and checked off the markers and in no time we coming into the St Lucie canal. Sunset Bay Marina in Stuart, Florida was home for the night.
4/4 & 5 After looking at the weather report, I decided we should stay put at Stuart. We did move to a mooring ball to save some money. I spent the first day sewing the splits in the window screens and Gary organized the outside storage areas. The second day, we were able to take the dinghy into town. The dinghy was an adventure just getting in and out of it, crawling on all fours, doing the funky chicken as I’m trying to get my balance. We didn’t fall into the water which is a good thing. Stuart is a walkable tourist town. Thee women’s clothes in the shop windows were very very cute!
4/6 Sebastian River Marina, Sebastian, Florida. The wind was honking but the staff at the marina were there to help us get secure. The previous 2 nights were without shore electricity and water. We had to be careful how we used the battery and generator and water from the holding tank. As soon as we were set up at the slip, I took a nice hot long shower in the marina’s customer courtesy shower. It felt soooo good.
4/7 Passed the NASA building. It brought back nice memories of our tour there many years ago with the children. We were able to get a mooring ball at the Titusville Municipal Marina. Tying up at a mooring ball is our preferred “stay put” method. It is a small fee but we are close enough to get to a dock if we want to go into town, it’s quiet - don’t hear the neighbors, and if the wind kicks up we don’t hear the bumping against the dock. The Max Brewer Bridge was so pretty at night with each support column glowing red. The picture isn’t ours because we don’t have a tripod.
4/8 Loggerhead Marina Daytona, Beach, Florida. Our dinner tonight is at Caribbean Jack’s located right at the Marina. Every time I see grouper on the menu I order either the sandwich or just blackened. It is a wonderful fish, delicate and tender. I also am ordering a lot of margaritas when we eat out. Note to self, I need to buy the ingredients so I can have it on board.
4/9 & 10 St Augustine Municipal Marina St Augustine, Florida. This city was a “must see” for me. It is oldest continuously occupied European-established settlement and port in the continental United States. It served as the capital of Spanish Florida for 200 years. Henry Flagler, a partner with John D. Rockefeller, arrived in St. Augustine in the 1880's and turned the city into a winter resort for the wealthy. The twin towers of the hotel were water storage tanks which contained 8,000 gallons each providing running water for hotel guests and thanks to the Edison Electric Company, was one of the first buildings in the nation to have electricity. We learned this on our trolley hop on-hop off tour of the city. We visited the Alligator Farm which I really enjoyed. Birds of all types roosted in the trees above the alligator ponds. The alligators would protect them from raccoons and other predators that climb trees. How thoughtful of the alligators. We also toured the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument. The thickness of the outer walls are 14 19 feet thick at the base. WOW.
4-11 Filled up with fuel in Ferandina Beach. Tried to set the hook in the bay across from the dock. Could not get the anchor winch to work. Had to do plan “B” and plot our way to St Mary. By the time we spent an extra hour getting to the slip, the wind and current had come up. Had a dickens of a time tying up. Thank goodness the harbor master drove down to catch our line. Very long day. Had dinner in the restaurant owned by the guy that owns the marinas.