Thursday, April 20, 2017

Making Our Way Out of Florida While Making New Friends

It has been an interesting week of travel and we now have left Florida in our wake and are finally in Georgia where the shallow areas begin and the tides get higher making cruising trickier.  Our first day of travel, Thursday 4/13 took us to Cocoa where we anchored uneventfully near the town dock but since we had been here a year ago, we chose to simply up anchor on Friday and move on.  Weather for travel this week has been wonderful with just enough breeze to keep us cool and just enough sun to keep us happy!  Friday we tried a new anchorage that was well rated in Rockhouse Creek.  It is on the "we like this place" list now.

It is a popular place to anchor because it is so close to beach islands around the Ponce de Leon inlet near Smyrna Beach.

Walking the beach at low tide meant the packed sand area was quite large and mostly empty.  The Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse is in the distance which is a historical landmark now. 

On the walk, Al spied these tiny crab critters.  You can poke on the picture to enlarge it to see the pretty little shell homes they carry on their backs. 

My shadow looms over them as they scurry for shelter in the sea grass!  We took advantage of this great beach walking venue again Saturday morning before we up anchored and went a short 12 miles to a "pull off" anchorage just off the ICW.   There are no good anchorages around Daytona or north of there so we simply used the spot for a night. This lessened our mileage for Sunday travels to St. Augustine where we planned to pick up a mooring ball so we could go ashore and eat pizza for Easter.  
Along the way Sunday, we picked up this hitch hiker, a strong kyaker who used our wake for wave action but by the time I got ready for a picture, Al had to slow the boat for a bridge and the bigger wake had died down.  Sunday proved to be an eventful day after a quiet start.  It seems the word is out that we got badly waked because we have had only polite boaters since then who give us nice slow passes with minimal wake.  While I was busy in the galley making a special Easter breakfast, Al gave me a warning that a large sport fishing boat was heading toward us at a fast pace but suddenly he slowed and veered a bit to the side.  Nice guy, but unfortunately just after the pass, he ran hard aground because he stayed to the side of the channel too long.  So since he was so nice to us, we turned around and went to his rescue.  That meant I had to catch a very long and very heavy wet line from his boat, cleat the line to our boat, all the while keeping the line out of the water, away from our spinning props!  No easy feat for this old lady.  It took several tries but Al is very good at these maneuvers and we freed the boat from the mud.  So once my hands quit trembling, we enjoyed our fancy scrambled egg/English muffin breakfast and continued on our way.  
Than another surprise occurred when we did a slow pass for the sailboat, Fleetwing.  We use Active Captain, an app superimposed on Garmin charts to plot our path and to learn about hazards.  Last year, we noted that many boaters make comments on the hazard markers and are far from precise so often give out poor advice.  But we saw a pattern that a guy who goes by the name "Bob423" was very precise and always spot on with clear directions on how to navigate shoals and tricky areas.  Many loopers also have seen that pattern and we often talk about how nice it is to have Bob423 "watch our back".  Over time we learned that his boat is a sailing vessel named Fleetwing and his blog is under the boat name.  His blog is chock full of great information.  So when we passed his boat, I hailed them on the radio and spoke to Ann his wife, thanking profusely for all their great help via Active Captain.  They too were heading to St. Augustine so rather than pick up a mooring ball, we opted for a slip to get to know Ann and Bob better.  

Here we are nestled into our slip, two slips away from Fleetwing.  We had docktails on their boat Sunday evening and thoroughly enjoyed getting to know our new friends and learning more about cruising around Maine since they too, have cruised the area.

And yes, Al got to his pizza place but we waited until Monday night for that and stayed an extra day to walk the town  and have a second opportunity to chat with our Fleetwing friends.  

This place sells the pizza by the slice so we bought too many just to taste different combinations and had plenty left for lunch the next day while cruising.  Yumm!!  A shout out to our buddies on Sandrobber who wrote about Pizza Time on their blog!! 

So on Monday night, we enjoyed our second docktail gathering on our boat with Ann and Bob Sherer 

Tuesday we cruised on to Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island and picked up a mooring ball at the marina.  This marina was critically damaged by Matthew so remains closed but allows boaters to use the mooring field for a $20 fee.  We stayed 2 nights so we had one full day to explore the cute town and for me to walk the 2 miles each way to the grocery for fruit and veges.  Then we had a lovely Mexican dinner with Ann and Bob who also chose this location for an anchorage. 

We enjoyed this sunset the first night at Fernandina while relaxing on the flybridge.

That little sailboat was happily sailing around the harbor for a sunset cruise.   

This was our sunset on Wednesday night, still at Fernandina.  Since we have different plans for travel, we have parted ways with Fleetwing but will keep watching for the hazard updates by Bob423 along the way!  Thanks for all the valuable help!!  Now on to our favorite, Jekyll Island! 

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