Saturday, 3 March 2012

And They're Off!

First mate and Cabin boy!
You guys see the size of those seagulls?
Bye Bye Cindy, you did good!
Leaving into a fog.

Our sailing adventure has officially begun. We didn't sail much, so our cruising adventure has officially begun. We got up early to time the opening of the railroad bridge which is having work done on it. Got up and had our last long hot showers for a bit, and left Green Cove around 7:15. The bridge opens for construction at 11:30, and we had received eta's anywhere from 3 to 5 hrs. I did my own math and tide calculations, and we got there right at 11:30 after slowing the boat down to 4 knots for the last hr. Guess what, no construction on the bridge today, so a couple trains crossed and it was lifted. I must add, I didn't have a lot of radio experience nor had I ever needed to radio a bridge to open before. Add on a new boat I had never even taken on a sea trial, and I was a little stressed. It was all to no avail, we shot through Jacksonville without much waiting, and kept chugging along. 

I need to mention that communication between crew on a boat is tricky. As we were leaving the dock Jennie was up on the bow sprit yelling instructions at me. She could hear me fine, but I was in tent with a diesel motor under me. She just kept yelling louder, until I went up front and gave her an example. We'll need to work on that.

As we were heading down the St. Johns River, we were blessed again to start our first trip out in our new boat with a dolphin encounter. These dolphins are way bigger than the ones back home. So far every boat Jennie goes out in for the first time, she is greeted by dolphins. I think the ocean likes her.

We headed up the ICW to go to Georgia. It is skinny and averages 15ft deep. This made for a tricky and tiring trip. We were going through Nassau Sound, and I had avoided the marked shoal. Then as we got a little further up the boat started to bounce a bit. Then it stopped and got deeper again. It stayed deep enough for a little while, then it started to shallow again, bump, bump... Throttle! I did what my little bro would have done, and floored it across the shoal. I think if I had let off, we might have had to kedge off or send someone out on the boom. Gotta love a stout full keeled boat. Right after that a dolphin came by, I think he was on duty to warn boats and got distracted. He came storming by 2 seconds after our 8 second ride. And left after he (or she) knew we were ok.

Then we cruised into an anchorage... Well it was off the main path I guess and marked in books as an anchorage. Alligator Creek, unfortunately had no alligators. Anchoring in 10ft with a 2 ft tide is no biggie, but we are anchoring a boat for the first time, we have been motoring for ten hrs, and there is a light current.  Plus the anchoring gear is different than what we used before, we were a little nervous. We quickly reversed rolls, Jennie took the helm and I got to lug the anchor and roll out the chain. We dug in a 40lbs delta? As if it was a 15lbs danforth. We then tucked in for a nervous sleep. 

We woke up in the same spot as before. This all chain rode and huge anchors are gonna be nice. When we woke, we were surrounded by dense fog. Jennie had never been in fog this thick on the water before, so I woke her up to have a look.  Later the fog blew out and burnt off, and we were left up the ICW for Georgia. Jennie is far better at this inland pay attention to the depth BS. If the weather is ok, we're just gonna head off the coast for a quick 3 or 4 hour trip back down to the St. Johns River entrance. 

We finally got to Georgia, to a sleepy touristy town called St. Mary's. 

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