We have arrived at Osprey Marina where we'll be leaving the boat until October when we'll continue our sailing adventure. We are hoping to go to Key West, the Dry Tortugas, and up the west coast of Florida for the winter months and then sail back to Sodus Point for the summer. Today Walt's sister, Annette, drove for a visit and we all went to Nance's Restaurant in Murrell's Inlet for oysters. We sure had our fill!
Today we made time coming into Charleston and were doing 10 knots in Elliot Cut as we approached the Wappoo Creek Bridge for a 3:45 opening......not to open again until 6:30. So it was quite important to make this opening! Once in Charleston Harbor we had time to spare because the Ben Sawyer Bridge would not open til after 6:00. As we were waiting in the harbor we heard a distress call....a 30' Sea Ray motor cruiser had just caught fire under the bridge in the Cooper River with 4 people onboard. We saw lots of smoke rising over the bridge. Another boat raced over to rescue the people and the coast guard came but the boat burned to the water and sunk. As you can see, we made a 6:05 opening at the Ben Sawyer swing bridge and headed north.
This looks like a serene anchorage in Bass Creek, an offshoot of Parrot Creek in South Carolina. There is nothing to see but swamp grass and no noise to disturb us. NOAA called for 5-10 knots from the north so we anchor in the middle of the river and only put out 50' of chain....it's only 8.8' deep. At 1:30 in the morning we awake to 32 knots of wind and we rush out on deck to see nothing but water...we have a 9' tide! No sleep til 4:30!
We enjoyed a wonderful Easter week-end with my cousin, Marilyn, and her family in Fernandina Beach. We attended the Vigil Mass on Sat with my cousin and then on Sunday we took her daughter and family for a sail on the ocean and had Easter dinner at the Pelican's Nest....Marilyn's waterfront shrimp dock. We wanted to take the ocean route today but the weather was uncooperative and we are stuck in Georgia on the ICW-the cruiser's nightmare. We could only do 50 miles today because there is an extremely low tide and we can't get through Little Mud River. Tomorrow we have to wait for mid-tide around 10:00 before we can resume our journey. We did have an exciting trip past Cumberland Island as a huge submarine came into the ICW and we had a personal police escort! Then I was being followed by a fishing boat near Jekyll Island. Never a dull moment....
We pulled into the new mooring field here in St. Augustine yesterday so that we'd be able to attend Mass today for Good Friday at the Cathedral, the oldest church in North America. We wanted to stay north of the Bridge of Lions because the view of the city there is wonderful. That mooring field is 1/3 full....why?....because the city made a mistake when putting in the mooring balls and put an entire row too close to shore in three feet of water. The next row can't be used by large cruising boats because there is an 8' tide here. So we are in the south field with lots of boats, all with long dinghy rides into the marina. The good news is that there is a free pump out boat and also a boat that will pick you up at your mooring and take you in to the dock. Sweet! Today we visited the fort of Castillo de San Marcos and bought our life-time senior Federal Parks Pass. This fort was the northern most outpost of Spain's New World empire. It was started in 1672 and replaced the nine successive wooden fortifications that had protected St. Augustine since 1565.
We are headed north and had a great motor sail from Vero Beach to the west side of Eau Gallie to anchor with Gorma and Overdaught in about 9' of water. We all met for happy hour at a beach bar called Squid Lips.....wings and beer were on special. Stuart and Heather are from Hamilton, Ontario so they know about the Anchor Bar Buffalo Wing thing just over the border in New York. It's amazing just how many people you meet while cruising! In the photo are Walt, Greg, Stuart, Heather, and Corinne.
We see a weather window to the States and head to Great Sale Cay to spend the night before crossing the Bahama Banks and heading into the ocean. As we pulled into the anchorage at 6:30 there were already 25 anchored boats.....so the migration north has begun! Walt snorkeled again to scrape more barnacles from the prop and hull. The warm salt water here is so bad for the boat, but we just have to give it a lot of TLC. We crossed into the ocean about 10:00 with 3 other sailboats very near to us and by the time we reached Vero Beach we were friends. I rented a car, we met the "voices in the night" from Gorma, Greg and Corinne, and Luna, Russ and Jane, and headed to customs in St. Lucie. We stopped for burgers and fries at 5 Guys and then all got some sleep since the crossing took 20 hours. There were lots of cruise ships and tankers plus fishing boats near the Bahamas...we had to tack to avoid one ship that passed between the three sailboats around midnight. Walt could track everything on his new AIS-vessel name, speed, and course. AIS is a great safety feature! Nice to be back with internet and phone service 24/7!
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