December 7, 2015 Pearl Harbor Day
We spent the day in Georgetown. Tomorrow's weather looked much more favorable for sailing to St Augustine. The prediction is for rain on and off all day. I worked on the oven to get it burning a little hotter and then unloaded the jugs out of the dingy so we could use it to get to shore. We dropped the dingy and put the motor on. It started on the second pull. Nice that an 18 year old motor is still providing great service.
We picked up Tarsie and went ashore. Joe and I went looking for NAPA to get some parts. The ladies went shopping at the local stores. Georgetown has a nice area for shopping along the waterfront so the ladies were happy. Joe and I found what we needed at NAPA and were happy too!
We all found a place to eat along the waterfront and had a nice lunch. Then the ladies went shopping again. Joe and I walked the town. We found a free Maritime museum and spent some time there learning the local history. Georgetown had been the third largest port in South Carolina for a long time. The primary products shipped were lumber, rice, and cotton. Not much going on anymore.
We ended the day at Buzzes Roost. They had a really good selection of draft beer. The ladies showed up a little later and we had dinner at the bar. After dinner we went back to the boats and stowed the dingy for tomorrow's passage.
December 8, 2015
Left Georgetown at about 8:30 after filling our jugs with diesel. The price had dropped to two dollars a gallon overnight. I also climbed the mast and got the radar running for our overnight passage.
We headed down the river with at least a two knot current pushing us down the channel. There was a light fog but the visibility wasn't too bad. I was a bit worried about our exit into the Atlantic with the amount of water running down the river. A lot of the rivers nearby were above flood stage. My worries were not in vain. Winyah Bay was a mess. We were constantly taking water over the bow and up to the bimini. One wave went right over the Bimini. We fought that for about 20 minutes before we got to clear water.
We headed out and set our bows for St. Augustine. We had an uneventful day passing Charleston at just about dusk. The winds died and the sails just flopped about as we motored along. I take the sails in when they became useless and put them out when the wind picked up again. The wind, when it blew was all over the place.
We did not see much traffic until we reached Savannah. There were enough ships going in and out that we had to keep an eye on them so we did not have a collision. We have AIS which transmits our position and course to the other ships and also collects their information and displays that information on our chart plotters. The AIS is great tool for navigation. I understand all boats greater than 65 feet will be required to have AIS next March.
Karen took the helm until 22:00 and then I took over. Her normal time to come back would have been around 1:00 but the traffic was so heavy I wanted to stay on for another hour to handle it. She came up at 2:00 and kept watch until 5:00.
At 5:00 the wind came in from another direction, so I set the sails again. The winds died and I took the sails in. Around 8:00 Karen came up and I went back down to get in another hours sleep. The wind began to fill in again around 9:30 and continued to push us in a favorable direction. The sun came out, the dolphins came to play. The day was quite nice except for the lumpy confused seas.
We were making really good time which forced us to change our destination. We were not expecting to be in St. Augustine until the next morning and at the current rate we would be in there at 2:00 am. Not a good time to enter that channel. We opted to go into the St. Mary's entrance and pick up a mooring ball in Fernandina.
We picked up the mooring ball at about 16:00 and paid for two nights stay. Always need a day to recover from an overnighter.
December 10, 2015
We went in early to explore the town of Fernandina on Amelia Island. It is a very picturesque location except for the two pulp processing plants close by. There must be a lot of money in this town because we saw a significant number of high priced automobiles driving around town.
We met up with Joe and Kathy on shore. The ladies went shopping and the men went for a hike about town. We found the hardware store and the general retailer. Picked up an ice cream and then went looking for a place for lunch. We found a nice restaurant in an old home off the main drag that was offering a free beer or wine with each meal. What a deal! Good food, reasonable prices, and free beer.
We did some more exploring and then ended up in what I believe was the oldest bar in Florida. The ladies found us there and we headed over to a local Mexican food restaurant for dinner. The whole downtown area was lit up for Christmas. It was very nicely done. All the tree trunks were wrapped in lights. There was also a Christmas Parade there on the main street that night. After the parade we headed back to the boats for the night.
December 11, 2015
We headed out at first light and went out to the Atlantic pushing for St. Augustine. The seas were quite flat so it was an easy motor sail down the coast. There were a few other sailboats heading with us down the coast at about the same pace. The day was uneventful. We found the entrance channel to St Augustine at about 16:00. We tried to cut in a bit early and ran into shallow water, so we headed out until we were directly adjacent to the main channel.
We went down the channel which was relatively shallow and not marked very well. We could not easily determine the color of the buoys so we could know which side of them we needed to be on. The rollers were also knocking about as we went in. The ride in was nerve wracking.
We arrived at the marina to find Karen did not make a reservation for us and only one mooring ball was available for just one night right in front of the fort. The next night was the Christmas Boat Parade and the ball we were on had to be vacated for the parade. There was no ball available for Tarsie, so they anchored just outside of the mooring field. We went over to Tarsie after they anchored and had a happy hour. We then returned to our boat for dinner. What a beautiful spot. We were moored right in front of the Bridge of Lions with the city cloaked in Christmas lights all about us.