April 29 / 30, 2017 Saturday / Sunday
We timed our departure so that we had plenty of water going through Hell Gate (another very shoaling area with limited water at low tide). We also needed help getting of this marina wall as the winds and current were strong. Dave again was able to back us out against the current and winds without hitting another boat. The run north was uneventful – Hell Gate was above half tide and other shoaling areas we took near high tide. We had plenty of wind all day, but not a lot of waves. We did 57 miles to one of our favorite marinas on Hilton Head Island – Windmill Marina. This marina is inside of a lock so there is no tide and the marina is surrounded by beautiful homes. We were given a slip in the back of the marina so wifi wasn’t available on the boat. But there were bathrooms close by.
April 28, 2017 Friday
We did a 71 mile run to a small marina in KilKenny GA – yes we are out of FL finally! We needed a pump out or we would have left Jekyll Island earlier. We again needed to watch tides for some very shallow waters going north. We made it through Jekyll Creek but saw 9 feet under us at one point – at low water it is only 4 feet in this spot. We also had some current with us in the morning so we were traveling a little faster – 10 mph at some points. We didn’t have any difficulties with Little Mud River as it was near high tide while passing that area. The weather is hot and the freezer stopped working – the extension cord running to inverter plug didn’t work. The KilKenny Marina is very rustic. The power was poor and no wifi so we had to use our hot spot which was also weak. We met a couple going north who used to own a DeFever and knew some of the first members of the cruiser club.
April 27, 2017 Thursday
Today’s run was 80 miles – the longest so far this summer. We had to pay attention to tides in a few places today. The water depths are very shallow at low tides so we calculated when to leave. We made most shoaling areas at or above half tide so did very well. We also had to worry about St. Andrew’s Sound due to winds, but the waves didn’t come in from the Atlantic Ocean like we predicted so the trip across the sound was relatively smooth. The winds did increase all day so that we had 20+ mph and currents when we went to dock. The Marina people were right there and we just headed towards the dock and they pulled us in – great docking Dave! The island did protect us from most of the winds that blew all night so it was rather quiet.
April 26, 2017 Wednesday
We did a longer day and went north of St. Augustine, FL to an anchorage – the winds are up and we didn’t want to worry about getting into and out of a dock. We are also starting to get antsy and move faster north to get out of heat. First Forty passed us just before we entered the anchorage – we have seen then a couple of times over the past week. Pine Island Anchorage was great. We sat very quietly all night – the winds died some but we were protected from the waves on the AICW. Two sailboats came in after we were anchored. We did have First Forty pass us in the late afternoon. They were trying to get out of FL also. We again checked the weather for tomorrow and decided we may need to get further north than planned. So will head to Jekyll Island and their marina. Always good to call ahead for reservations.
April 25, 2017 Tuesday
We went to Daytona, FL today – another relatively short day of 48 miles. We are having some difficulty with the transmission gear shift levers on the fly bridge. Dave talked with our engine mechanic in FL and we proceeded to figure out the problem. Thanks to Don we feel more comfortable with what is going on and understand what to do. On the way north we ran into a pod of manatee right in the channel – there had to be about 20 of them. We had to travel at idle speed as you don’t want to hit one of these big guys. When we arrived we were found First Forty across the dock. We invited them over for docktails (they are first time loopers we last saw in Moore Haven, FL. While sitting around up pops Lorelei (Rob and Naomi Tipton - travelers from 2015 that we got to know and visit with over the winter of 2016). They also joined us for docktails. Nice way to end the day.
April 23 / 24, 2017 Sunday / Monday
We did a short day from Eau Gallie, FL to Tituville, FL – a total of 38 miles. The waters were calm today but there was some wind. The run was easy and getting into the slip was also easy. We were tied up by noon so spent the afternoon doing some cleaning. This friendly manatee came over for a drink as we washed the decks. Due to the high winds we stayed here on Monday and did more cleaning. Barb walked to a grocery store for a short list of supplies. Weather isn’t too hot, just very windy. Winds have a way of sailing us around which makes steering harder and also getting into docks harder.
April 22, 2017 Saturday
We did a long day from Stuart, FL to Eau Gallie, FL for 75 miles. We went into the Eau Gallie Marina where we have friends – Gordon and Kate Nissen on Viking Star. We had dinner with them at their home in the evening. The run wasn’t bad to day – a little windy but not much wave action on the AICW. We did worry about getting off the dock we were in at Stuart, but Dave did a great job of backing us out of the slip against the wind.
April 19 - 21, 2017 Wednesday - Friday
We had arranged to have work completed on the stabilizers, but had planned on one day. Well issues were found so it took three days to complete the work. We had to move to a hotel for one night as we couldn’t stay on the boat in the boat yard. Stabilized Marine did a great job and fixed us up for our travels. We appreciate all the people involved in this project, the marina we stayed at, the boat yard that was flexible and found us room, and Stabilized Marine for having to spend more time than they thought. We were able to see Steve and Di Koch for a few minutes, and go out to dinner with Joe and Julia Nekola (Sea Pearl) – good friends we traveled with in the Bahamas a few years ago.
April 18, 2017 Tuesday
This was another early day as we will do 78 miles into Stuart FL. We cross Lake Okeechobee today and the water levels are way down due to no rain in southern this winter. We hit three objects before actually getting onto the lake, and then saw depths of 7.2 feet to 12 feet all the way across. The alligator was one of a number we saw on the lake rim canal – with much shoreline visible they were out sunning. We had a small chop on the lake but it wasn’t bad so even though we had to go slowly due to water depth, we didn’t actually go aground at all. We were 11 hours and did two locks today along with one bridge. Saw another DeFever anchored in Stuart FL but couldn’t raise them on the radio.
April 17, 2017 Monday
This is the first day of our summer trip. We were up and did final closing of the house before 6:30 a.m. We left the dock before 7:00 a.m. and made the river in good time – rising tide helped. We traveled 65 miles to Moore Haven, FL. Before getting to the first lock and moving into fresh water, we had dolphins around us – doing their jumps and twirls. Always fun to watch. We did two locks today and had one bridge opening. The day went quickly and the weather wasn’t too hot so we were very comfortable on the fly bridge. We passed one DeFever at a dock just east of the first lock. We met a couple just starting their first loop and gave them some info about places and distances in FL.
April 16, 2017
Happy Easter! The winds are very strong so we are enjoying our day aboard the boat and just puttering around with last minute house things. Barb keeps thinking of items that would be nice to have aboard so walks to the house and gets them. The day passed quickly and we swam in the afternoon.
April 1- 15, 2017
We are starting to prepare in earnest as we are set to leave on April 16. Lists have been made, the boat work list is almost complete – well it is a boat and the lists never really end. Shopping has been started and what we could find was bought. We have completed all house projects and started closing up for the summer. We did take time to go out to dinner with Lori and Rodger Swink (DeFever friends) who were passing through Ft. Myers. We hope to catch up to them next fall. Barb celebrated her birthday by working on closing the house, and doing more food shopping. The pool is warm so we have been able to swim each day and the humidity has been down so Dave can take his bike ride.
We arrived home on March 1 after a great 10 days in Sarasota at the DeFever Cruiser Rendezvous. We spent most of the month completing repairs on the house and some updates for the boat. During the latter part of the month, we started preparations for getting underway in April. We did relax and enjoy dinners with DeFever friends and other boating friends. We also took a day to drive up to the condo and have service repair people in to make sure everything was set for the summer. It was quiet here, with days passing quickly. The weather in March has been mostly windy and the temperatures fluctuated from lows in the 50’s to highs in the 90’s. It must be time to get underway!