April 14, 2014
Filled up our water tanks, and headed out of the Naval Air Station just before 9 a.m. Just going for a short cruise today, 20 miles got us to Six Mile Creek in the St. John's River by lunchtime. We tied up to a free dock there, at the Outback Crab Shack. We were told (in a presentation at the Loopers Association Rendezvous) that it was free as long as you had a meal there . . . so in we go for lunch. Lunch was pretty good, but the after lunch show made the entire visit worthwhile! We met (or should I say, Matt met. . . ) Chase - a 5 year old belonging to one of the staff there. Chase got ahold of Matt (literally! grabbed him by his hand and pretty much wouldn't let go!) and took him on a "tour" of the restaurant. I followed a few feet behind, not wanting to stop or interfere with the tour, but I just had to listen in! And let me just say . . . I spent the better part of half an hour or 45 minutes with tears of laughter pouring down my face!!!! Chase was describing every single thing on the walls - of which there were countless "things" - from stuffed fish, deer heads, pictures, certificates - you name it!!! Just picture it. . . . "this is a fish, and this is a fish, and this is an alligator, and this is a picture of a fish, and this is a picture of a deer". On and on! Not being able to read, he came upon a certificate and asked Matt "and what is this?". Matt told him it was a Certificate of Appreciation. So then Chase tells Matt "and this is a Certificate", and moves on to the next item. Then of course Matt's questions - "can we put an alligator in the fish tank?". Chase: "oh no, it would eat my fish!". Matt: "How about a little alligator?" Chase: "I guess that would be ok." Matt: "What's This?" (a mounted boar's head that has an antler rack attached). Chase: "That's a Deer". Matt: "But that's a hog's head." Chase: "Oh. That's a hog." Matt: "But hog's don't have antlers." Chase: "Oh. That's a deer." Matt: "Maybe its a hogalope?" Chase: "That's a deer." (then they move on to the next item) The whole performance was absolutely priceless. One waitress came to tell me if I wanted her to stop him she would - I said "Don't you dare! This is the highlight of our afternoon!!!" Chase was just non-stop energy, and just so adorable!!! So we finally escaped back to the boat to recover from all the fun, then took a walk with Sailor along the dock. The dock itself is huge - 1500 feet long! And this creek is known for it's alligators (the sign up by the restaurant says not to feed them 'cause it's illegal). So we're walking along, not really seeing much. Hearing a bunch of noisy birds (not sure what they were, but they're really loud and obnoxious!), and see an occasional fish tail flopping around in the floating hyacinths. Speaking of the floating foliage - it was so thick in some places next to the dock that Dumbo (aka Sailor) thought it was land. So he stepped off. Was a little surprised when he sank! We screamed at him and he came straight back to us at the dock, even though he was a little tangled up in the hyacinth. We both grabbed handfuls of the back of his neck and yanked his sorry ass up onto the dock. And breathed a huge sigh of relief that it was somewhat cold and rainy, so the gators were probably snoozing, awaiting warm sunshine. Stupid dog. After all that fun, we lock the pets in, and went back into the Crab Shack to get some crabs for dinner. Yummy blue claws - making me think of summer time at home.
April 15, 2013
Welcome to tax day. Yuck. And thank you, Lindsey, for covering our butts on that note! Cheers to my favorite tax accountant! Anybody looking for a recommendation, she's your gal!!
9:00 a.m., off we go. Next recommended destination is just about 50 miles down the St. John's River. On the southbound cruise, my second bad health issue of this trip arises. . . chomping down on a snack of a hard pretzel ended up with a broken molar. Shit! We're in the "outback" of Florida - barely have internet service, and my search of a nearby dentist shows one 30 miles away (by car, that is, not boat!). And who practices dentistry in the land of the toothless? Forget it - it's not hurting or bothering me - it's gonna have to wait a couple of weeks 'till we get home and I can go to a dentist I trust! We pull into Georgetown Marina at the top of Lake George just before 4 in the afternoon. It turns out to be really an RV park, with a small marina, and nothing else - no parks, no stores, no restaurants, no nothing. Some grass for Sailor to pee on, and that's about it. Gee, how exciting. Oh well, we did spot some turtles and gators on the trip down. Unfortunately, kind of far from the boat, so none of my pictures turned out well enough to see anything. And Georgetown Marina had it's own wild life - the number of bugs was incredible! Needless to say, all meals were on board today, but dinner worked out pretty good. When I was walking Sailor early in the evening, I came upon Tony at the fish cleaning station. We chatted for a few minutes, and then he asked if it was just me and my hubby aboard and did we like fish. Answering "yes" to both of those questions resulted in a bunch of free fish - Blue Gills - for dinner. Fried 'em up, used up the broccoli left in the veggie bin, and we had a great dinner! Thanks, Tony!!
April 16, 2013
Nothing keeping us here, or enticing us to continue southward, we decide to start back north again this morning. First we took on fuel, only $3.99 a gallon here. Except the pump is excruciatingly slow! Took us half an hour to pump in 100 gallons! Got a free pump out too, so we're set for a while again. Outta there by 9:30, we head north. We stopped for an hour or so for lunch at "Gator Landing", a cute little place with a free dock to dine, so it made a good break in the day. We're heading back up to Six Mile Creek, and as there's nothing there but the restaurant, we're not in a big hurry to get up there. Another total of 52 miles finds us tied up in the same spot again. (I think Sailor remembers the foliage problem - he shows no interest in stepping off the dock this time!). We land there just after 5. Had steering issues again (can't figure out why the steering fluid pumps itself out at the helm - what a pain in the you-know-what!). Put the oil back in again - we'll see what happens. A quick dinner at the Outback Crab Shack, then a movie and bed calls it a day.
April 17, 2013
Up and at 'em early. I walk Sailor, and we encounter a snapping turtle along the way. Of course, Sailor wants to play - I manage to keep him safely away from it and still snap a few pictures with my phone. Back on board, we're pulling out at 8:30. Matt says, "why don't you take us out of here, I'm gonna read my book". Fine we get under way, and I'm wrestling the wheel. The steering just doesn't want to respond. I finally give up and steer with just the engines. We get out of the creek, and use the auto pilot to steer us north in the St. John's River. I have to take it out of auto and steer manually under a bridge - and steering is very bad. Get thru the first one, and approach a second bridge. I go back to manual, and there is almost no response at all. Matt comes and takes over and lets me know "no, it's not you!". So we steer the rest of the day just using auto pilot or manually steering with motors only. Makes for an interesting voyage! Then to make things even more interesting, I tried to start the generator at lunchtime so I could use the microwave. Nothing happened. Uh-oh. Matt tried - still nothing. Shit. Will have to look at that once we've docked. We get to Tiger Point Marina in Fernandina, FL at 4:15. This afternoon, Matt spoke with a yacht broker who is there, and he arranged for dockage for us, and is going to meet with us to discuss listing the boat. He (Mike) and his wife met us at the dock and helped us tie up. We discussed listing and all the associated "stuff", so we'll be working with him. Sounds like we'll probably end up leaving the boat in South Carolina, so it'll be within a day's drive from home for us to use it whenever we want. So, done for the day, I throw together some pasta with stuff I've got in the fridge/freezer, and we chow down, watch a movie and hit the hay.
April 18, 2013
Get up, have coffee, and head over to the marina office. Get checked in for 2 nights, and ask whether they stock batteries (if that's what our generator's complaint is). They said no, but if we let them know soon what we need, they could get it for us this afternoon. So back to the boat, get into the generator stuff, and determine it is most likely the battery. Between the 2 of us (mostly Matt) we managed to get the dang thing off the boat (about 140 pounds). Plop it on our wheeled cart, and drag it over to the maintenance building, where they test it and quickly determine it's shot. Figures. Get a new one ordered and sit back to wait. Back on board, Matt crawls under the ice maker unit, and finally finds where a recently persistent leak is. Get the hose cut out and repaired - yeah! Something fixed today! Early afternoon, I take my bike to the Winn Dixie grocery store that, per my Garmin Nuvi GPS is just under a mile away. Get there thinking, boy, this looks awfully residential to me! Find that it is, and the address doesn't exist (Winn Dixie was #947, the highest street address was #907), and the GPS wanted me to turn into the driveway of a very nice, very large, private home. Oh well. Groceries aren't a necessity (right now, anyway!). I get back to the boat to find the battery fairy arrived and delivered our new battery into the engine room. Matt hooked it up - and we have a working generator again!!! Yeah! 2 things fixed today!! Next, Matt spends some quality telephone time with folks who know about our helm and steering issues. Bottom line is that we probably are going to have to replace it - for only about a grand or so. Another "shit". He takes it apart and cleans it and tries to get it to be ok, if only for now. Yuck. Stay tuned for that continuing drama. . . . . We called the SC marina that Mike the Broker recommended and got that lined up. Expect to get up there probably in about a week or less. Then to get a u-haul truck or something to pack up the boat content and head home. Can't believe it's getting that close - it's been almost 10 months. Sure doesn't feel like that long!
April 19, 2013
Got up, woke up, coffeed up. Good to go. Sort of - still have no steering! Called a marine supply place and ordered a replacement helm pump - it's going to be delivered to the marina where we're leaving the boat in South Carolina. So, probably little or no steering between here and there. And the saga continues. . . . . Off we go, left the dock at 9 a.m. Next stop, Georgia. We tie up at Jekyll Harbor Marina by 12:30, only 29 miles done today. Got the boat pumped out, then went up to lunch at the Marina's Restaurant. A quick bite there, then we borrowed their courtesy van to head over to the IGA Grocery to pick up some essentials. Closing in on the end of the trip now, so don't want to overstock, but got keep on keepin' on for probably 2 weeks now. It's only a couple of miles away, so an easy run. Till we try to leave the store, only to find the battery's dead. And the saga continues. . . . . Why me? This has been a couple of pretty
shitty special days! Oh well, gotta grin and bear it!! The marina has laundry here, so I can catch up with stuff and start thinking of packing up. Got a couple of loads done - $1.75 to wash, $1.75 each to dry. Took Sailor for a walk, and was thankful he didn't notice the snake slithering up ahead of us. I just crossed the path we were on, and the snake went his way, and we went ours. Checking it out later, by my description, it was probably a Black Snake, or maybe a Black Rat Snake - thankfully not poisonous, but I'll just leave them alone nonetheless! Thought of getting a picture, but couldn't really get close enough to do so without alerting Sailor to his presence. So, sorry, no pics there! We went back up to the Marina's restaurant to do a snack for dinner, and met up with the Marina Manager, Scott. Really nice kid (I say "kid" - he's probably in his early 30's). . . Hung at the bar with him, and he introduced me to beer with a Bloody Mary Mix sidecar - he put olives in his beer (I don't do olives), and the bloody mix had a Old Bay spiced rim, and we "had" to put in a shrimp (which he obtained from the buffet behind us). Gotta say - it was really good! Beer and Bloody Mary Mix? Who woulda thought? At the end, when there's just a little Bloody Mix left in the "side car", you pour the rest of your beer in it and drink it. It's know as "the poor man's Bloody Mary" - I thought he was totally nuts, but it was actually good! We chatted with Scott 'till he needed to head on home, had a very light dinner, and headed back on board for our normal movie then bed. Unfortunately, after the movie, bed wasn't exactly as restful as it could/should have been - an intense storm had to come through, raining intensely hard on us, winds coming up and joining with the choppy water to start banging us a bit against the dock so that extra fenders needed to be deployed, and storm noise levels getting to an unsleepable (is that a word?) level. There was so much water dumping down from the skies that our bilge pump alarms sounded 3 times during the wee hours while our boat ridded itself of all the water pouring in. Oh well, we can sleep tomorrow.
April 20, 2013,
Left Jekyll Island at 10:20 this morning, in still yucky/rainy weather. And freezing, too! Think my toes got frost bite! Washed our jeans yesterday, thinking to put them away and have them ready to pack. Mistake! It was only about 53 degrees at 9 this morning!!! In southern Georgia??? Crap! Pulled out anyways, only going a short way today (purposely, because of the shitty weather!) - an hour got us 8 miles north, and we pulled into the Brunswick Landing Marina by 11:30. Still really cold, but at least the rain has stopped! Awesome dock master (so nice to finally find someone who knows what the hell they're doing in tying up an incoming boat! We've had so many idiots where we've come close to bad problems, but this woman was fantastic!!!). Got our "welcome package" upon check in - we are right at the edge of the Historic Town, with lots of little shops and restaurants. She recommended several of cruisers' "favorite" restaurant stops, so we hit Fox's Pizza Den for lunch. Very good - not the top of my list, but a good lunch. We wandered about town for a bit afterwards, then back to the marina. I hit their laundry - after spending seven bucks yesterday to do two loads of wash, it was a bit of a novelty to do wash for free here. . . . And when I went up to move the loads today into the dryers, I chose to bring up a beer with me and hang out in the lounge there, where they have TV with excellent cable reception. So while my stuff was drying (and I threw a third load in to wash our blanket), I hung out, relaxed, and enjoyed watching "My Cousin Vinny". Oh Lord - I just LOVE that trial!!!!! Almost everything laundry-wise is now clean on the boat. We're gonna go to dinner, then afterwards, I'm gonna do another load or two of stuff that doesn't regularly get washed - I'll be totally in great shape for packing up belongings to head home. (Can't believe we're counting down. . . .) Walked over to the local Thai/Sushi Place for a little dinner (very good, though the octopus was a little tough), then back to the boat. I went up and took a wonderful shower (a 6 x 7 foot shower stall - constant running water (you have to have taken a boat shower to appreciate that part), just totally awesome!), and started a load of wash at the same time. Done with shower, threw the towels and stuff in the dryer, then back to the boat again to enjoy a little Indiana Jones on cable while the laundry dried. Then off to bed, will figure out tomorrow, well, tomorrow!! G'nite!