Charleston is one of our favorite cities and we stayed at the Maritime Center for a night which is located on the Cooper River very close to the straw market, great restaurants and the historic waterfront. We also stopped here on the way south in October. Actually we were in Charleston for Halloween, 2009. Walt and I took a Polo Carriage Tour through the city this afternoon. We also got a great photo of a rainbow over the Cooper River.
We had a wild ride on the ocean from Fernandina Beach to St. Catherine's with winds blowing to 28 knots at 90 degrees so we did made great time. The next day was blowing hard as well so we did the ICW but found lots of shallow water. We made it to Beaufort, SC and anchored north of Lady Island's Bridge. Actually it is a spot we will visit again as there is a nice park and free dinghy dock. We attended Mass for Palm Sunday and then headed north to anchor just south of Charleston.
Today was a beautiful warm and sunny day. We left our mooring balls at Fernandina and headed to Cumberland Island for the afternoon. Marilynn joined us for the motor/sail.
Cumberland Island is breath-taking with beautiful beaches, sand dunes, marshes, oak trees draped in Spanish moss and wild horses. We shared a picnic lunch near the ocean and then collected some nice sea shells. Tonight we docked at Marilynn's shrimp docks and are waiting for a weather window to sail to Charleston.
We took the ICW today and amidst some clouds and rain showers made it through the Lion's Bridge in St. Augustine. The new bridge is operational, small and slow but it fits right in with the decor of St. Augustine. The big, fast lift bridge in the foreground is being dismantled in the next two weeks and the only bridge openings will be on the week-ends. Tomorrow we go to Amelia Island to visit with my cousin, Marilynn.
We slowed down a bit and spent March 17-18 in Vero Beach on a mooring ball at the city marina. Since we a rafted to our buddy boat, Mystic, we decided to B-B-Que steaks for dinner. No need to use the dingy to visit, just step over the lifelines...how convenient. Friday night we'll be in Titusville via the ICW.
The weather has been great and we have been sailing in Hawk Channel for the last two days. Today we stayed just outside NO Name Harbor in Biscayne Bay. There were just too many boats in the basin for us to anchor and the wind is building. We took the dinghy into shore and toured Bill Baggs State Park. The Cape Florida Lighthouse is 95' high and was originally built in 1825. It is now used as only a private aid to navigation and its light is visible seven miles out. This photo is looking down at the lightkeeper's home.
We left Boot Key Harbor this morning at sunrise. This shot is looking back past Burdines, the Boot Key Lift Bridge, and then the mooring field way in the distance. It's hard to believe that we've spent three months here already and the new friends that we've made have become dear to us. Hopefully cell phones and e-mail will enable us to stay in touch. We'll anchor tonight behind Rodriguez Key in Key largo with Lorrie and Gordon from Mystic.
The Marathon City Marina just recently opened new bath/ shower houses for the Boot Key Mooring Field. They don't look new anymore as they are used around the clock. We are leaving Marathon and heading north so it will be 3-minute showers on the boat for us until Vero Beach.
We attended the Marathon Seafood Festival this Saturday and it was a huge event with music, craft booths, rides for the kiddies, and lots of seafood. We enjoyed lobster, fish, ribbon fries and cokes under the big tent since it was a hot and sunny day. Walt looks pretty happy with this platter of fishy treats.
We took the bus to Key Largo Tuesday, 3/9/2010, to visit friends from Marina del Mar. Walt played tennis with Gary, then we had lunch with Annette & Gary at Mrs. Macs Kitchen-a local dive. I also shared some time with Yalina and Dalgis, ladies I tutored in December. In the afternoon we chatted with Diana and Howard on the marina patio.
We attended the Gospel Explosion here at the Community Park this Saturday. There were music groups from the various churches that sang all afternoon. It was great to hear such a variety of music praising God. The classics: Lord I lift your Name on High, Our God is an Awesome God, and many more from our Kingdom Bound days were sung. It was great!
Bob, Greta, and Bob's sister, Marie, arrived in the Washer RV all the way from Mexico, NY with side trips to North Carolina and Tampa. It was so great to see Walt's parents here in Marathon at the City Marina. They were really brave and decided to ride the Keys Shuttle bus with us to visit Key West for the day. We rode the Conch Train, lunched at the Hog's Breath, and walked up Duval Street to catch the bus back to Marathon. It was spring break for some colleges so we all got an eyeful on Duval Street and it wasn't even dark yet!
These shots are of the Gulf Waters of Florida Bay. Bahia Honda has beaches on the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico which is way cool. The waves on the ocean side are never very high as the reef keeps the big breakers away. The channel between the Florida Keys and the reefs is called Hawk Channel. It's quite shallow and filled with crab pots but it usually is easy to sail. Steve and Evie are in front of the old bridge and standing on the jetty.
Steve & Evie, dock mates from Katlynn Marine where we keep our boat in the summer, visited us for a few days but the wind was a bit strong for a sail. We visited the Seven Mile Bridge on our way to Bahia Honda State Park by car. The sun was warm but the water was still too cold for swimming.....what a strange Florida Key winter!
This bike rack attests to the importance of boat bikes when you cruise. Most boat bikes fold so they can be stored in the boat and away from the salt water. Like the dinghy, the boat bike is essential to cruising. They provide easy transportation to stores, beaches, churches, and historical sights. Most of them have baskets or crates that can carry not only groceries back to the waiting dinghy but also gasoline and diesel. We keep ours locked at all times. What would we do without them?
Hey, the day that Don & Stella had to leave the weather was sunny and quite warm. Somrero Beach really is beautiful with lots of sandy beach, tiki huts, and bath houses.
All of our boat neighbors were there taking advantage of the rare warmth.
We sailed to Bahia Honda on a day that the weather forecaster said would be sunny with 10-12 knot winds. I don't know how paid professionals can be wrong so much of the time...... By the time we reached the park, the winds were blowing 17-18 knots and the clouds were rolling in. Don & Stella had never been to the park and there really is lots to see. FIU turned back to Boot Key and we anchored in Bahia Honda. As Walt was backing on the anchor the prop stopped turning. Guess what had to be cut off...under water....a huge mass of old crab pot lines. It was Walt's first time snorkeling all winter.
Walt and I have been avid sailors for 38 years. Our retirement dream was to sail to Florida and the Bahamas for the winter months which we did for the first time last year, 2007-2008. We decided that we loved the cruising life
and four days after our return to Lake Ontario we traded our Catalina 320, Eagle's Wings, in for a Catalina 42 which we named Waves of Grace. We hope to continue to cruise in the Florida Keys, Gulf of Mexico, and the Bahamas for many years to come