April 7, 2013
Along with Bucket List, we took advantage of the marina and
topped off our fuel this morning, and got the holding tank pumped out. Good to go for several more days! We pull out with our friends about 9 a.m. and
headed northward, tying up in the New Smyrna Municipal Marina about 29 miles
later. It's 1:15 in the afternoon, so
Matt, Danny and I go off for a somewhat late lunch. Pretty waterfront setting, good food, and
very friendly birds!! Pleasant enough
marina - when we get back, we're treated to visiting manatees. Although you are not supposed to either feed
them or give them fresh water to drink (they don't want to attract them towards
boats to try to help keep them out of harms way), they are attracted to the
fresh water coming out of boats. We
found a bunch of 'em hanging around a neighboring boat taking turns sipping the
dripping water. Amazing creatures!
Later on, just around sunset, we got together
for a mini "docktail" party with Larry and Cindy. Very pleasant evening, with just a bunch of
good snacks (we were still full from our late lunch, so this worked out quite
well for us!). Even Sailor and Marley
came out on the dock to join the party!
April 8, 2013
We departed New Smyrna with Bucket List at 8:30 in the
morning. We had planned on continuing
further north with them, but as we neared Daytona we decided we couldn't just
float on by - we needed to stop and see.
So we radioed Larry and Cindy to let them know we were dropping off, and
once more had a very sad "good by".
But we are certain our paths will cross again one way or another - I'm
expecting them to be stopping by to see us at home when they cruise by NJ on
their continued Great Loop adventure.
We've become good friends over these past several months - I'm thinking this
will be a friendship that continues. . . .
So, we pulled into the Halifax Harbor Marina at Daytona at quarter to
eleven. Signed up to stay over night,
then took a walk over to the local West Marine.
Our grill (purchased during this trip, maybe about 6 or 7 months ago?)
has seen some better days, and the salesman then told us to be sure to exchange
it for a new one before the year's warranty expired. Luckily, they have one in stock, so we'll
stop back later today or first thing tomorrow morning with ours and do the
exchange. Neat warranty program!! Walked about town a bit to explore what's
about, then caught ourselves a cab to go over to the pier at Daytona Beach. Super cool beach! Not like most other beaches I've ever been
on, the sand is very compact. So much
so, that they not only drive normal cars and trucks on it, but folks ride their
bikes on it, and even wheel chairs are easily accommodated! And it's such a wide beach, it's
amazing! We head on over to the pier
where Joe's Crab Shack for a great lunch.
On the way back to the beach from Joe's, my bratty son makes me go on a
stupid boardwalk ride with him - "the Slingshot". Oy! I
cursed him out and threatened his life!
Didn't buy the video - the language it contained wasn't appropriate for
most viewing audiences. Took some
sitting down time afterward and a couple of beers to get my knees to stop
feeling jello. . . . . Survived it
nevertheless, and returned to our marina for some rest time before dinner. Walked back into town early in the evening
for a bite to eat, then back to the boat to rest our tired bones. We've decided there's just too much to do
here today, and we didn't do all we wanted, so we're staying on here in Daytona
one more day . . .
April 9, 2013
Got up and walked back over to West Marine with our nasty
looking grill. Ended up not only
exchanging for a new one, but an upgraded one at that - the new one has an
electronic igniter (no more squishing the long lighter into the hole on the
side to light the burner)! And - it's
got it's own warranty, so we'll just have to exchange it for a new one again
next year. Looks like we might have a
permanently new grill on our hands! :)
So back on into town - there's a fruit store where we want
to pick up some fresh stuff, and I saw a market that had potting soil
advertised in the window yesterday - I have a little lime tree that needs to be
put in some soil - I have a little bucket to make do with, but no dirt! So we walk back on over, get ourselves some
breakfast, then head to the local chocolate store, Angell & Phelps
Chocolates, to participate in their tour.
Fun to watch, interesting history to hear, and great samples at the end
of the tour! And of course, the grande
finale in their shop where we buy some fudge, chocolate covered bacon and
toffee. Unfortunately, something's
gotten to Matt's sinuses - can't stop sneezing and a nasty sinus headache to
accompany. So we send him and our candy
back to the boat, and Danny and I continue on and find the "dirt"
store - but they only have huge bags. I
explained what I had to the guy, and said I'd just find a place to dig some up,
and he said no - come in the back and I'll give you enough for what you
need. So he gave me a small bag of soil
and some planting advice and said "have a nice day!". Awesome folks down here! Back over to the fruit store, we got some
grapefruit and oranges - the folks here just as nice. Delicious fruit, too!! I asked the owner if there were somewhere
nearby where I could pick up some allergy medication for Matt (we're out on the
boat) and she told me where to find the local CVS pharmacy. She said she'd keep all our purchases here at
the store for us so we didn't have to lug 'em with us, and we could stop to
pick it up on our way back.
Perfect! We walked the couple of
blocks inland and found CVS (the first "real" drug store I've been in
in probably 3 months or so!), and got some drugs for Matt. Heading back on over to the marina, picked up
our stuff from the fruit lady on the way, we delivered drugs, dirt and fruit to
the boat. Got some drugs into Matt, and
leaving him to try to become semi-human again, Danny and I headed back over to
town to see the museum. Another small
one, only five bucks admission. They had
a 20 minute historical movie for us as an introduction to Daytona, then we took
our time going thru looking at everything.
There were some awesome murals painted high on the walls - I learned
they were done by a father/son artist "team" - one would start at the
bottom, the other at the top, and they'd meet in the middle! Other neat stuff included various war
memorabilia, cool car stuff relating to the car racing history, and
"Grandma's Attic" - the 2nd floor holding antique kid's toys. Nice visit!
Back to the boat to see how the nose was doing - by the time he was
finally starting to feel a little better, it was dinner time. Walked back over to town to a pizza place,
and just had some Italian comfort food for dinner. Then home, a movie, and hit the hay.
April 10, 2013
OK, time to leave Daytona!
Off we go, just about 9:30. We're
heading north again, closing in on Jacksonville
Airport, where Danny will
catch a flight home. Our next stop, 46
miles up the ICW, is St. Augustine. We tie up at the municipal marina at 3:30,
and head into town to walk around. What
a beautiful area! The architecture is
totally amazing! I've never claimed to
be much of a photographer, but I hope my pics give some of the flavor of the
area. We walked all over, stopped in at
an Irish Pub for a beer (and a menu perusal for dinner - but Irish food isn't
something I ever go out of my way for!!!), then found a nice place for a
pleasant dinner - "Harry's".
Back on board later for a movie and bed.
April 11, 2013
HAPPY BIRTHDAY SHARON!!!!! (WOW - You're really getting OLD, huh??) (love ya!!)
In spite of my sister turning yet another year older today,
we got under way to go northward once more.
Headed out of St Augustine,
covering 49 miles to tie up at Jacksonville Landing just after 3. This is a free tie-up - no water or power,
but you get what you pay for, and free is a very good thing!!! So we get off and do a walk-about. The Landing itself is waterfront, a bunch of
touristy stores/shops and restaurants.
We strolled thru the mall-like setting, finding that a bunch of the
places were either empty or closed. It
all seemed well-kept enough, just seemed to be either dying or awaiting
recovery - not sure which. Oh well, we
kept ourselves occupied well enough, then hitting one of the waterfront
restaurants for an early dinner (having had a big breakfast then skipping
lunch). And what a dinner it was! I needed my steak button pushed - can't
remember the last piece of beef I've had.
Was gonna get their prime rib, but tonight's special was filet mignon
topped with crab - could resist; wasn't sorry!
FABULOUS!!! And Danny dug into
some great looking crab legs. Matt
ordered one of his favs, a wedge salad, and was content with that and just some
pickins off of our plates (not to mention the fresh hot bread with homemade
creamery butter). Terrific dinner!! And Thank God for that, 'cause the rest of
our stay here kind of went downhill from here. . . Back to the boat, watch some TV for a while. Notice the water getting a bit choppy -
ugh. Eventually go to bed, only to be
woken sometime before midnight 'cause it was really hot. Couldn't run the A/C (no power here, and we
don't like running the generator all night), so I opened the windows in our
room. Well isn't THAT lovely. A local establishment, waterfront, right outside
my window, playing delightful rap (CRAP) music.
And what's that background accompaniment? Is that a jackhammer? (I later find out it's a power washer, but
the decibel level was equivalent!)
They're gonna have to all stop that nonsense soon, right? Wrong!
I eventually give up trying for sleep and go up to the bridge with my
IPAD and just hang out. At least it's a
tiny bit cooler up here. And the
jackhammer noise finally quits - at 3:15 a.m.
The damn music is finally turned off at 3:40 a.m., but by that time, I'm
so wide awake it makes no freakin' difference.
Free dock or not, I will not be staying here another night!
April 12, 2013
Well, we're in striking distance of Jacksonville Airport,
and Danny has flight reservations to get him home tomorrow. But there's no way we're staying at the
Landing, so we call up the Naval Air Station (NAS), Jacksonville, to see if we can move
there. It's only 8 miles south of here,
and they assure us they've got room for us, so off we go at 9:30 a.m. An hour later, we have our sights on the NAS
JAX marina, and I'm using binoculars to decide exactly where we're going in
at. But get a little side tracked when
Danny announces the police have their lights on behind us. I turn around, and sure enough, there's Homeland
Security pulling us over. I go out to
talk to them - they're very nice - and they announce they'd like to board us
for a documentation check. It's really
windy and the waters pretty choppy, but what the heck? It's not like you can say
"No"! So aboard they come, I
go and get our boat papers, they're on board maybe 15 minutes or so and clear
us to go. Getting off our boat back onto
theirs was a little hairy 'cause of the chop - thought one guy was gonna get a little
squished between boats, but they're finally safely aboard and leaving. Gee - wasn't that fun? Finally get into the NAS marina and tie up -
get up to the office and get our slip assignment, then have to go move to a
different slip. All in high winds and a
healthy current as well as a bumpy chop - we're really having fun now!!!!! Finally in there, safe and secure, by 11
a.m. Now, try to rent a car. None available. Inquire in the marina office about post
taxis. There are none. How about off post taxis that are allowed to
come on post? No clue. Well.
Very helpful marina office, huh?
Eventually call the Post Lodging Office to inquire about airport
shuttles - there are none, but they were at least able to give me the taxi
company they use and their phone number.
Finally - a breakthrough!! We
call them and line up a ride for Danny to get to the airport tomorrow. One down.
Next - how to get to the commissary to do a little provisioning? OK - bikes!
Have been doing that for the past 9 months - can't be that difficult,
huh? Except that this is a military
installation - you can't ride your bike without a helmet. And no, sorry, we don't use bike
helmets. Great. So Matt and I hoof it a mile and a half over
to the commissary on a really HOT and humid day. Yuck!
Awfully sweaty by the time I get there!
Oh well - browse through the Exchange, then over to the Commissary for
some groceries. Matt checks at the
courtesy counter to find out about taxis to take us back to the marina with our
stuff - they said they'd call around and for us to stop back and check when we
were about finished shopping. Stop back
- they couldn't come up with anything taxi-wise. More fun.
Get to the checkout, and Matt says something about taking the shopping
cart all the way back to the marina.
This starts up the conversation with the checkout lady, and subsequently
the lady doing the bagging, that we're at the marina, on a boat, with no ground
transportation available. The bag lady
then very nicely offers to drive us over - she's finishing up work in 10 minutes
if we could wait. Awesome! Life doesn't suck after all!! Not that a mile and a half would have killed
us, mind you, but these dam grocery bags are heavy! So it's nice to find an angel now and then to
look out for you!! Back to the boat,
then Matt and Danny took our "wheels" over to the nearby mini-mart to
stock us up on some beer (we arrived beer-less today!), so now we're all set
for the time being again. Had some
awesome steaks tonight, prepared on our brand new grill. Cooked up some of my killer mushroom sauce to
go with it, along with fresh green beans with toasted pine nuts. Dang - I can compete with restaurant food any
day!!! Topped off with a movie, then a
calm, peaceful night's rest. Whew - sure
beats last night!!!
April 13, 2013
Sorry Daniel, your date of departure has arrived! He probably has some mixed feelings there -
having a great time in paradise, but missing friends and home. So he gets "all" packed up this
morning (thankfully traveling light - just carry ons), gets a shower and is
ready for travel day. The cab shows up
right on schedule (thankfully!), and he makes it to the airport and his gate
without a hitch. Even better - the
plane's only 3/4 full and he's got 3 seats to himself. A very good thing for some one who sort of
hates flying! After his cab left the
marina, Matt and I take a walk to the Mini-Mart, where we thought was an
ATM. Finding none there, got directions
to the Credit Union a couple blocks away, and reloaded our wallets. Back to the boat for some relaxation
time. I'm sitting here finishing up
with this week's log and pictures - just heard from him that his 1st flight
landed right on time. His connection is
in about an hour, so it's sounding like a successful travel day. So I think tonight is gonna be a quiet night,
probably heating up some leftovers and watching whatever's on the tube. Will go through the charts a little, and try
to plan out the next couple of days or so.
We're going to be cruising the St. John's
River before heading north out of Florida - so we'll probably be in Florida for maybe the next couple of weeks
or so. Our plans then involve finding a
Yacht Broker to list this boat with (boo-hoo!), finding a place to dock her in
a southern home, then figuring out how to get us, the pets, and most of the
contents of our boat home. Wow - nearing
the end of a truly GRAND adventure. What
a long, strange trip it's been. . . . . . (would I do it again? - you bet your
sweet ass I would!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
Till next week . . . . . . . stay warm, stay healthy, and
above all - stay happy!!!!!