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  Wanderlust Home and Pet Care



State #2 Georgia


4-28  &  4-30  Warning Do Not Read To My Parents


I couldn’t sleep last night. My mind was wheeling with my negative thoughts about this boating adventure. I should preface this paragraph by first of all stating I am on drugs for Bronchitis. Prednisone is a wonder drug but it can feel like adrenaline is coursing through my veins which isn’t helping my tremors - especially without a good nights sleep. Second, everything seems worse at night when it’s dark and gloomy. Lastly, I think I need to try and balance my fears I have accumulated with boating knowledge I have gained which might be best done on paper.


Here goes, spilling my guts to this stupid computer with a space bar that is NOT very sensitive.


We have had to purchase head sets for better communication. When I’m kneeling at the front of the boat, line in my mouth, left hand trying to put the line pole down without dropping it into the water and my right hand holding the line for the mooring ball, I can’t tell Gary to move up, left, right all the while the boat is in a current with wind. Or there are the times when docking, I am out at the stern helping to watch for clearance for the dinghy, screaming into the wind to Gary’s back while he is in the protection of the cockpit. Running back and forth to the cockpit from the front with suggestions/clarifications was unacceptable. I use the word Screaming because I was afraid to hitting something. Screaming sets the blood rushing through the body, it sets the muscles into a tense position ready for action. Not a comfortable feeling. We have been very lucky so far and now with the headset, screaming will be a thing of the past. Even though we had discussed a plan before implementation, the plan had to change due to wind or current. We are responsible for a very expensive boat and have very little experience in handling a boat especially one this large on water that has hardly ever been absolutely calm. The head set worked very well yesterday when changing our docking position from the “working” marina to the transient area. The wind which of course came up as we were getting ready to move, pushing us into the dock. No matter what Gary tried it wasn’t working. I was always saying to watch the bow or stern. A nice young man from one of the MEGA yachts next to us, said he would hold the fender at the bow. We pivoted from the bow allowing the stern to push out from the dock and then Gary put the boat in reverse. As the young man gave me instructions, I was passing that information to Gary WITHOUT SCREAMING.  We then used the wind to slowly bring us along side the end of the our new position.  I was anxious about throwing the line around a cleat but I was able to step off and make us fast.

While I am busy preparing lines or fenders I have not been focused on traffic around me. Luckily I  heard Gary yell “hold on” as we were waked. I grabbed the side rail and the rail on the cabin roof.  I could easily have been thrown to the ground or overboard. I felt like I was on a trampoline. I must wear the headset any time I leave the cockpit.


The morning we left Lanier Island, I could see fog. Gary had already checked with the dock-master who said the visibility was two miles.  We left and ran maybe ½ mile from the marina and the flog surrounded us.  I immediately said to turn around and go back to the marina. It took us 3 times longer to get back to the marina. My heart was in my throat. All I could think about was hitting another boat as  there were several boats getting an early start. I have learned to wait for mid morning or stay put on foggy days. Good lesson learned.


We were trying to anchor and the wind was kicking up.  We had just filled the diesel tanks and were ready to call it a day. The anchor wouldn’t work - up or down. Gary said to check for a switch or fuse in the hatch. RIGHT! Here we are bouncing around, I have to hold the hatch door open with one hand while supporting myself as I peer into the hatch looking for who the hell knows what.  What do I know about mechanical devises? I have trouble getting a lid off a jar. I leaned back and the hatch is blown shut. If my hand had been any closer  to the hatch, it would have been crushed.  We have now figured out that the anchor had a rusted fuse. What have I learned from this: stop traveling by early afternoon before weather conditions change, if it’s time to call it a day - I don’t care how much the marina is charging per foot - we will pay it, and the wind can be a dangerous element and deserves my full attention. The day was not over.  We decided to continue to St Mary GA from Fernandina. Fernandina didn’t have any available mooring balls and wanted $2/foot for the marina. Mistake number one - should have paid the $76 to dock. Our computer chart plotter didn’t have the course to St Mary’s since we weren’t expecting to go any further. I said we would use the paper charts. Mistake number two. The charts are 7 years old and the marker numbers had changed in the Cumberland Sound. Maybe you remember me talking about this before. I thought we were lost out in open water with what I would call rough seas. Gary & I were yelling at each other. He didn’t know were to drive and I couldn’t tell him until he said the GPS had us on the computer chart. I could see we were too far north for the turn to St Mary’s River. Thank God for GPS. I was directing all of Gary’s navigation to St Mary’s Marina. It was much calmer on the river which made me feel a little better. It was hard to understand the southern drawl of the dock-master over the radio, trying to tell us where to dock. Gary misunderstands the directions and we went in the wrong place.  I torn up my arm from the barnacles that grow on the cement piles tying up the boat at the wrong dock. We headed off again to the correct dock and wait for the dock-master to arrive to help with the lines.  By this time I am ready to crawl into a hole and die. What did I learn here: even though you have an itinerary, it’s good to have a plan B for a bale-out, I will depend on the computer chart/GPS to know where we are located, I have healthy respect for open water maybe to the point of being scarred of open water. This concerns me as we will need to be out in the ocean at New Jersey and the Great Lakes. Weather, weather, weather is the primary concern.  If it says the winds could be 20 miles an hour NO MATTER WHAT TIME OF DAY, we stay put. If the wind picks up unexpectedly we stop for the day.


Twice now we have encountered shoaling. The first time was at St Augustine. We had stopped to checkout the mooring balls/marina. I was starting down the stairs to get my phone to call about a mooring ball. Thank goodness I am always holding the handlebar and the door jam otherwise I would have been thrown down the steps when the boat suddenly came to a stop. I think the current dragged us into the shoaling area.  We were able to get back into the channel.  We always keep the door to the salon closed in any other situation.   I remember John saying they had a friend that fell down the stairs and broke her leg. The next time was in what we thought was the channel of the St Mary’s River. I was standing near the co-pilot chair. I barely stayed on my feet.  We must always pay attention to where the boat is situated or soon will be. Can’t rely on the magenta line and in some cases the markers - must always look at the depth sounder.


After reading the above again, I realize I have had many close calls. It’s no wonder I’m uneasy. I was anxious about leaving Savannah this morning but we had wonderfully calm water and very little wind. No one else was on the waterway. It does seem to be getting easier each day. We meet very helpful people. We will continue to ask for help when we fell uncomfortable. I will hang-in-there and try to remember all I have learned.


4-27  The Balls and the Spaids had lunch at Uncle Bubba’s. I guess the owner is somehow related to Paula Deen. We could tell by the prices of the food. Gary ordered a bucket of seafood. I think he had to take a shower after lunch to get cleaned up.


4-26 I spent the day updating the blog/journal. That was brain damage. Windows 8 is a pain in the ass which is on the new computer. With the new hard drive in the old computer we had to download programs to run our data: Picasa, Photoshop, the Serif program - which make this web site and the list goes on.


4-25  The repairs are done, however, Gary and John (the owner) were still waging war with RayMarine.  Gary did rush to FedEx to ship the module to RayMarine and we waited for a new one to be sent to us. The computers were giving us headaches. Maybe we can be out of here Monday or Tuesday if we are lucky.


4-24  We pulled the anchor on to the dock with most of it’s chain. We marked off 25 feet increments. This should help me keep track of the amount of chain I have out when we are at anchor.


4-22  Gary has to have a “come to Jesus” talk with the dock-master. Nothing has been happening as far as the repairs are concerned. That afternoon people were everywhere.  Gary has spent all day working on the computers new and old. We discover that Windows 8 and the GPS for the chart plotting program aren’t compatible. UGH! We were back to the Balls for dinner.


4-21 We drove back to the campground to say our goodbyes. Maddy was such a big helper getting the RV ready for travel.  She is a detail person and is a hard worker. Dinner is back at the Balls.


4-20 Happy Birthday Mike. We arrived at the River’s End Campground to check out the Hybrid RV.  Randy can pull the RV behind their car. It contains a toilet, shower, microwave, oven, refrigerator, and sleeping space for 4 adults and 2 children. The RV is nice but the boat is all the camping I can stand thank you very much. We followed the Georgia Spaids to Oatland Wildlife Park. It is a delightful “zoo” with plenty of walking in the Georgia woods. We had lunch at a restaurant close to the boat and then gave the Georgia Spaids a tour of our accommodations. The girls enjoyed scampering around the boat. A London broil dinner was at the Balls.


4-19 Best Buy screwed up the computer repair. Luckily they didn’t charge us for any of the work. Randy, Suzanne and the grandchildren arrived at the Ball house around 5pm. Katie and Maddy, ages 5 and 7, sure have grown. Suzanne has a plan  for activities for tomorrow to keep the adults happy and the children entertained.


4-18 Our day was full of activities. We drove to Home depot for a quick-connect piece for the water hose and a new fitting for the water filter. The it’s off to Best Buy for another computer and some tech work on the old computer. The old computer had been giving us some issues so before it became a major problem, Gary wanted a new hard drive installed. Next door was the Liquor Warehouse so we stocked up on beer, gin and the fixings for a Margarita. Tang orange juice drink is ok but we prefer the minute maid orange which we discovered at Publix. WalMart was right next door to Publix so we picked up pop, lime juicer which is so important for the Margarita, pretzels and who knows what else.


4-17 We hooked up with Connie and Derek. Derek gets a tour of the boat but Connie had to remain in the wheel chair while I tried to describe the floor plan of the boat while on the dock.We have lunch at Applebee’s and then it’s back to their house. Derek has graciously given us the Toyota to drive around while we are here.


4-16 We arrived early afternoon into Savannah. We have arranged to see Connie and Derek tomorrow and Randy and Suzanne will have the camper on Tybee Island Friday afternoon. Gary was busy trying to get repairs lined up for the boat: the radar stops working at least once each day, the dinghy steering is non-existence, we occasionally have to manually shut off the port engine.


4-15 We ran the boat to Walburg Creek which is south of St Catherine’s Sound. Just as we were entering the creek we are flagged down by a small boat. They ran out of gas. Gary pulled up close and I tossed them a line. One of the young men climbed on board to get our dinghy gas can. I found a funnel while Gary did great job of  keeping us close while not running over the small vessel. They took all the gas in the tank and tried to pay us for the gas.  We just said to return to favor to someone else in need. What an experience for a new boater. We found a good anchorage and dropped plenty of chain. This was our first time at anchor. The boat shifted with the current but I slept surprisingly well.


4-14 We arrived late morning at Morningstar Marina Golden Isles which is on Lanier Island. The marina had a courtesy car which we used to visit the town of St Simon. We took pictures of the lighthouse built in 1803. The park was having an art festival which had drawn a lot of people - parking was at a premium but my luck held. We celebrated Gary’s birthday with a nice bottle of Brazen wine. Gary was able to order fresh oysters which he loves.


4-13 We were unable to get the Island tour -I will need to do more up-front work next city we visit. We spent the morning at the Submarine museum. King’s Bay submarine base is very close by. Lunch was at the Riverside Cafe. We had a wonderful Gyro wrap.  The volunteer for the Cumberland museum never showed up so we missed this attraction as well. We spent the time on the internet.


4-12 We walked through the town park which had a lovely fountain, band stand and gazebo to the main street in order to find the visitor center. We had to put our name on the waiting list for a golf cart tour of the city. Luckily, a family canceled. I didn’t care for the guide’s jocks but over all it was a good tour. We had a nice lunch at the Blue Goose but service was slow due to the number of  guests they had.  We put our name on the Cumberland Island ferry ride and tour for tomorrow. I hope we can get the tour.