I am always amazed by comments from non-boaters who think that the boating life is a vacation.....well it can be.....but most often it's a lot of work! We are finishing up LOTS of work here at the boat yard. Walt looks like an alien as he has been grinding and sanding the hull. Today we finished two applications of CSC bottom paint and we have started to wash and wax the boat. It seems much larger on land when the whole entire boat needs a wax job! We are both tired but at 7:30 we turned around and saw this sunset-WOW!
We have arrived at Green Cove Springs Marina which is really not a marina at all but rather a boatyard where you can complete your own projects on your own boat-something rare here in Florida because of all the EPA regulations. There are huge piers where large ships used to put in and there is a work yard and a storage yard for both boats and cars. The office is small and so is the bathroom but people come here to work on their boats, not necessarily spend the winter. We were promptly hauled out, scraped (the hull was not too bad) and power washed. Then we were moved to the work area with tarps, water, and electric included. Everything here is a la carte so you just pay for what you use, nothing else. Everyone is very friendly and helpful. The office will order anything you need at their cost plus a small processing fee. We do need a new cutlass bearing, but hey, we have tons of miles on this boat so we'll have the yard pull the shaft and put on a new bearing, they've already ordered it. Walt is pretty grimy grinding and sanding the hull, even with the respirator and a full painter's suit. The cruising life is certainly not a vacation, just an simpler, alternative lifestyle for the adventurous and the handy man/woman!
We sailed up the St. John's River today with the tide so we were doing close to 8 knots! We are docked just in front of Jacksonville Landing which is west of the Main Street Lift Bridge in Jacksonville. There is complimentary 72 hour docking here with room for about 50 boats with a warning sign to be prepared to raft up to 5 boats deep....must be super busy in the summer! There are parks, restaurants, a biking path and lots to explore at the waterfront. What a fantastic stop! Tomorrow will be our last day cruising this year as we pull into Green Cove Springs Marina to have the boat pulled on Friday. What a great cruising season this has been!
We had a delightful time hosting Jim and Joyce from Katlynn Marine, our home port, today on Waves of Grace while anchored off-shore of Squid Lips in Melbourne, Florida. They have been babysitting their two grand children for the last two weeks. The Ebmeyers own a Catalina 40 which they keep in Sodus Bay during the summer months but they have also sailed their boat to Florida along with Bob and Brenda, also docked at Katlynn Marine, on their own boat. We shared sailing stories over wine and gin and tonics-a perfect Sunday afternoon!
We took a side trip today and went from Lake Worth to Sunset Bay Marina in the St Lucie River. We were so surprised at the upscale marina, beautiful boaters' lounge, nice laundry facilities ($1.50 per wash and dry) and great mooring field. The amenities here are awesome! There is a scenic river walk to downtown Stuart which is filled with upscale shops and restaurants. We had fish and chips at Duffy's and it was warm enough to sit outside. Stuart offers free shuttle service to anywhere in the city and they will pick you up at the marina if you call them. This morning we walked to Publix which is only 8-10 minutes from the dinghy dock. We'll certainly plan to stay here next fall for several days when we head south again.
We are on the move and going fast......We sailed from Cape Coral to the mouth of Everglades City at Indian Key on Sunday and put down the anchor in a small protected cove west of the channel. The wind was gusting to 23 knots in the bay but all was quiet in the anchorage. On Monday we set sail at 6:30 and headed across Florida Bay to anchor at 7:10 just outside of Boot Key Harbor which was full to the brim with moored and anchored boats. It was a calm night and we could see the 7-Mile Bridge as well as a beautiful sunset. On Tuesday we took our new dinghy into Marathon, did some shopping and said good-bye to our friends, pulled anchor and headed to Key Largo where we anchored in the dark at 7:20 at Rodriguez Key, an anchorage we know well. This is the sunrise this morning as we head north to Miami. We had a great sail up Hawk Channel today as the winds grew to 26 knots as we entered Biscayne Bay. We are anchored in No Name with a dozen other sailboats. Ranger was pretty excited to go for a walk to the Biscayne lighthouse this afternoon....he's been there before! Winds just won't settle down...supposed to blow 18-20 knots all week....
There was no sleep for the weary on Friday when we set the anchor in Cape Coral. We had a message that our new Mercury dingy, purchased at the Miami boat show, was being delivered to Larry and Kitty's home. So we jumped in our old dink are arrived at their house just 15 minutes before the delivery truck pulled up. It arrived in a huge crate and three hours later it was in the water....old dinghy folded up, and crate torn apart. Back to Waves of Grace for some serious sleep!
We pulled an all-night sail from Madeira Beach to Cape Coral today and we are still catching up on lost sleep. We left Chuck and Terri around 11:00 A.M., went through the Welch Causeway Bridge and stopped to fill up with diesel for $4.35/gallon and no tax! Then we went through the John's Pass lift bridge with the intention of going into Sarasota at New Pass but when we turned to go in I saw only breakers straight across the channel. I called Tow Boat US and they said NOT to take our boat through there, too shallow as it has shoaled in. They recommended Venice but it was dark by the time we arrived so we turned off the engine and sailed the Gulf of Mexico all night arriving at our anchorage in Cape Coral around 11:00 on Friday-a 24 hour sail!
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