"The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in
its net of wonder forever."—Jacques Cousteau

March 27, 2014

Mar. 27 - Home in Texas

"Those who contemplate the beauty of the Earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts."—Rachel Carson

Good morning from the Great State of Texas! Summers can be hellishly hot, but spring is heavenly. 

March 26, 2014

Mar. 25 – Jacksonville, FL

Ortega Yacht Club Marina

We had a beautiful day to explore our new surroundings. Stan spent a little time this morning talking to a few boat yards in the area, getting information on a haul out and work we’d like to have done on the boat later this year. The rest of the day was spent relaxing, talking to other boaters we’ve met last year and packing for our trip home.

Our home at Ortega Yacht Club
Our views from the flybridge

March 25, 2014

Mar. 24 – Jacksonville, FL

Ortega Yacht Club Marina

“Friendship is the shadow of the evening, which increases with the setting sun of life.” —Jean de La Fontaine

After we arrived yesterday and plugged into shore power we turned on our air conditioner, the first time since last July when we were in Plymouth. In fact we've hardly used our AC in the last two years. That's definitely going to change this summer. Anyway...where was I going with this thought…oh yeah, winter came back this morning! Now we have the heater running AGAIN.

Even though we had a cold grey windy day we didn't let it slow us down. We've been trying to figure out where and when we could catch up with our friends on Amici. It was beginning to look like we wouldn't cross paths with them this year. Then we had a great thought...we'd drive over to Maineland and see them. When you travel on a slow boat, 60 miles is a long day on the water, but in a car on a freeway, it's only an hour away. We spent the whole day visiting...catching up on each other's lives and making plans for next winter in the Keys and Abaco. It's always a good day when it's spent with friends and it’s especially nice catching up with friends we haven’t seen in awhile.

Susie, Stan, Sally and Ted

March 24, 2014

Mar. 23 – Jacksonville, FL

Ortega Yacht Club Marina

“The person who goes farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare. The sure-thing boat never gets far from shore.” —Dale Carnegie

Our cruise today took us down the eastern coast of Florida and up the St. John's River past Jacksonville and then into the Ortega River. This area of the Ortega River is very pretty with beautiful homes along the shore, each with lovely yards with azaleas blooming.

Ortega Yacht Club will be our home for the next couple of weeks. We plan to go home for a quick visit later this week…we need a family and Mayven fix and thought this would be the perfect time. When we return we will head further up the St. John's River.

There are quite a few boats in the area that we know...hopefully we'll be able to catch up with a few. We spent the evening visiting with Greg and Leslie from Amalia, they were one of the first cruising couples we met in 2011. It's always fun to spend time with them. Tomorrow we'll drive down the coast to visit with our friends on Amici.

A beautiful sunrise over Fernandina Beach
Cruising into Jacksonville
A few of the homes along the Ortega River
Leslie and Greg aboard The Pearl 

March 23, 2014

Mar. 22 - Fernandina Beach, FL

Fernandina Harbor Marina Mooring Field

“The most dangerous risk of all - The risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.”

We're back in Florida! It seems a little strange...as we walked around Fernandina Beach this evening it felt like we were just here…and it's been three years.

We woke to grey skies and expected to get rain part of the day, but what we got was a mix of sun and clouds. One minute we'd be cold and the next we would be warm...by the time we arrived in Florida we had a beautiful sunny day. We picked up a mooring ball, relaxed a little and then took the dinghy to town. Fernandina Beach is a cute little town. It has a quaint downtown area with lots of shops and restaurants. We could tell it was spring break (and Saturday)...there were people everywhere. It was a lot less crowded the first time we were here. We wandered through a few shops and then had dinner at a Mexican restaurant called Peppers.

We passed more friends going north today...we were hoping we'd get to visit with Jim and Betsy on Smiles before they returned to Isle of Palms in South Carolina...we missed them in Florida by one day. We are going to miss seeing a lot of people this summer, since we seem to be doing things a little backwards this year. Oh well, there's always next year. We had another relaxing night on the boat watching another beautiful sunset.

Still very flat and open...we can see forever!
White pelicans having breakfast at low tide.
A Black Skimmer...can you tell the top from the bottom?
Jekyll Island Club...one of our stops in 2011. Hopefully we'll take time to explore here again on our way north. Click here for details.
Cumberland Island State Park...we spent a few days here in 2011 exploring this wonderful spot. Click here for details.
Our view of Fernandina Beach from the mooring ball.
One of the beauty buildings in Fernandina Beach 
The welcoming committee at the marina  

March 22, 2014

Mar. 21 - Sapelo Island, GA

Duplin Creek - Anchorage

I know we've been through this area before, but I'm finding it very difficult to find any landmarks I remember. The reason could be...it all looks alike. The ICW meanders through rivers, creeks and sounds that are surrounded by the Low Country...marshy land with a few trees here and there. It's so flat that you can see boats miles and many bends in the river away. Stan says he remembers a few places, or least he thinks he does. Luckily it's mostly remote and there are few things we have to slow down for. We have seen quite a few boats heading north; in fact we passed some friends on another Monk this afternoon. Unfortunately I didn't realize it was Mike and Barbara on Last Chance until they had passed. It would have been nice to get a picture of them. Stan and Mike did visit on the radio for a few minutes. It's always fun to pass someone we know.

Our anchorage tonight is very quiet and well protected. We are close to the ferry landing on Sapelo Island. I believe there are several refuges and an estuary on the island. We read we could take the dinghy to the ferry landing and do a little exploring, but we arrived too late in the day to take advantage of that...maybe next time. We spent the evening enjoying the sunset, making pizza and relaxing.

Leaving Thunderbolt this morning
Isle of Hope Marina
The Georgia ICW

March 21, 2014

Mar. 20 - Thunderbolt, GA (Savannah)

Bahia Blue Marina

“When the sun is shining I can do anything; no mountain is too high, no trouble is too difficult to overcome.” —Wilma Rudolph

The first day of spring was beautiful, and we enjoyed every minute of it. We slept in and didn't pull away from the dock until noon. The tides around Savannah are a little crazy...10-12 feet and the current is very strong. For that reason the captain decided we'd leave later today so we could arrive at the marine close to slack tide. Leaving late meant we would arrive late, but that's ok, we spent a month in this area on our way north in 2011 and did a lot of exploring then. We did make it in time to go to Tubby's for their sunset celebration and wonderful crab stew. It's one of our favorite places to eat in Savannah.

We had lots of company today...dolphins were everywhere. They seemed to be enjoying the first day of spring as much as we were. We never get tired of watching them play in our wake or gliding in front of our bow. 

Beaufort, SC
What a great way to enjoy the first day of spring
Spring...being enjoyed by everyone 
The Captain
Musical entertainment at Tubby's 

March 20, 2014

Mar. 19 - Lady's Island, SC

Lady's Island Marina

“It is the set of the sails, not the direction of the wind that determines which way we will go.”—Jim Rohn

We're finally on the move...we left Charleston this morning on a cold grey day. All bundled up to stay warm. It definitely felt and looked like winter. By the time we arrived in Lady's Island the sun was shining and it felt more like spring...hopefully this will be our last real cold day. We passed seven or eight boats heading north...that's the expected flow of traffic for this time of year. Everyone heading north to spend the summer in cooler places or on their way home from spending the winter somewhere warm. Heading further south definitely is going against the grain, but we've never been ones to do the expected or follow the crowd. We've traveled this way before in 2011, but it's been long enough that neither of us remembered that much about this section of the waterway...it's kind of like having a new adventure. I guess living on a boat is a new adventure every day...definitely not your ordinary life.

Lady's Island is across the river from Beaufort, an old southern town packed with history and charm. We enjoyed exploring it during our first stop here. Today we stayed close to the boat, we visited with people on the dock, walked to the grocery store and had dinner at a very casual spot above the boat. It was really more of a bar that grills on their deck...hamburger on Wednesdays, pork chops on Thursdays and steaks on Fridays.

One of the best things about cruising is making new friends and spending time with friends we've made through the years. One of the hardest things about cruising is leaving those friends behind when our plans take us in opposite directions. Although saying good-bye is a little sad, we know our paths will cross again somewhere on the water, and it will be like we've never been apart. We've made a lot of good friends in the past three years and look forward to meeting many more. It's fun to pull into a marina or anchorage and see a familiar boat and have a chance to catch up on all their adventures.

Last picture with Pam
Leaving Charleston 
Views from the Low Country we cruised through today.
Looking at the marina from the deck where we had dinner.