Monday, December 2, 2013

Monday-Thursday, November 25-28, 2013

November 25th
Our time spent at Camanchee Cove Yacht Harbor and St Augustine was very nice. It seems like we've been here forever and we both are itching to move further south....even if we go only 20 miles!   The weather forecast looks fairly decent for today but storms are predicted for Tuesday and Wednesday of this week and then Thursday is Thanksgiving.   We debated what to do but knew if we didn't leave, we'd be stuck here until the weekend. If I could get reservations at the Marineland Marina, our decision would be final. We lucked out....Marineland had a dock available.  By 10:30, we were backing out of our 60 foot slip and heading under the Vilano Beach Bridge toward the St Augustine Inlet.

    St Augustine Inlet

While motoring to the Bridge of Lions, we had a great waterfront view of the Castillo De San Marcos and St Augustine.  Since we did the land tour, it now was nice to see these places from the river.  We had about a 10 minute wait for the Bridge of Lions to open on the hour and then it was an easy cruise down the Matanzas River.  I was surprised to see  all of the derelict boats either anchored or beached up  on a marshy piece of land.   We continued under a few more bridges, the Mickler O'Connel Bridge, fixed, and the Cresant Beach Bridge, bascule, before we reached the Matanzas Inlet.  This area is very well marked so boaters need to heed the day markers to enable a passage without any mishaps!

At the R86 can, I hailed Marineland so they were prepared for our arrival.  At the G87, we turned east into the marina's well marked channel.  This is a very small marina....20 or so slips...but with many rave reviews.  The young men who operate this facility, Eric, Chris, Cameron, and Brandon, are just the best!  They are very visible throughout the day and are constantly checking and adjusting the lines on each boat.  The majority of their docks are fixed so they are very cautious that the lines are adjusted just so. 

This place is awesome.  The pump out is free, the washer is free while the dryer is $1, and it's only $1 per foot to dock!!  The showers/restrooms are spotless and the showers are super hot.  there is the 'River to Sea' walking trail with the ocean and Marineland facilities across the street, A1A.  They even have kayak tours for those adventurous folks. The only negative aspect is that there are no restaurants or stores within walking distance.

Since I love the ocean, as soon as we were tied up and checked in, Chuck and I headed for the beach.  We walked over the dune and  walked a good distance north along the angry ocean.  It was near high tide so we didn't find any many shells and those we did find had holes!  Just like at the OBX, the ocean is eroding the dunes and encroaching on the beach houses that are perched along old A1A.

On our way back down the beach, we stopped at Marineland's Gift Shop to inquire about the tour times for tomorrow.   We decided since it was to rain tomorrow, we'd come back and take the 'Behind the Scenes' tour and the 'Touch and Feed' program.  I can't wait.  :))

November 26th
We woke up to a cloudy, rainy day.  Today is the Farmer's Market at the bulkhead right in front of our boats from 8:30-12:30.  Since it rained and is still drizzling, we figured the vendors wouldn't show, but half of them already have their tents up. They were selling coffee, muffins, pies, plants, local seafood, veggies and a little old lady had baked all kinds of breads and pastries.  Wow!  I bought cauliflower and tomatoes, while Chuck went for the strudels!

After breakfast, Eric came over and told us that everyone on our side of A1A was under a quarantine and not allowed to enter the dolphin facilities...not even their gift shop...starting today!  Apparently, there is a virus going around that humans can transfer to dolphins.  Numerous sick and dead dolphins  showed up along the coast.  Since our  dock hands were in contact with our boats(us) as well as with the Marineland people who take the boats out into the ocean around these dolphin, we are all carriers.  Marineland is being very cautious and do not want to lose any of their animals. I am so disappointed but it is best for the dolphins!

So what do we do now?  We decided that the weather wasn't going to put a damper on our day.  We donned our foul weather jackets and headed to the trail entrance.  The trail is very lush with all sizes and types of palms and other marshy plants.  I half expected to see a wild boar come charging at us.  The only wildlife we encountered were the mosquitoes!  SWAT!  As long as we didn't stop, those buggers didn't bother us. This trail took us twice out to the boats are cruising today... and then to a parking lot where there was a nice pavilion and pond.  I could not believe all the turtles that poked their heads above the water when we walked out onto the dock. 

From the trail, we walked over to the ocean.  This part of the beach which is south of the Marineland facility is very rocky!  Who would have thought?  Not me!  I at first thought that pieces of cement had washed onto the beach. is 'coquina rock' which I found out is along Florida's coast from north of St Augustine to Flagler County.  Over the years, the ocean has created many cool formations with these rocks. 

Tired from walking, we headed back to the boat and discovered sv/Melinda Kay had just tied up at the floating docks behind us.  It was great to see Barb and Doug again.  We hadn't seen each other since the mooring balls at Annapolis, MD even though Barb and I have kept in touch by email.  We were hoping that we'd meet up somewhere along our way south.

November 27th

Last night was a noisy, rocky, night on the dock!  I don't know what time it
started raining but at 1:00 am we heard a terrible screeching sound.  The winds shifted out of the west and were pushing us hard against the wood piling on the corner of the dock.  Both of us went out into the cold rain to place a horizontal bumper between our boat and the piling.  Of course I was in my bare feet so by the time we got the situation under control, I was wet and chilled to the bone.  The bumper did stay in place until the morning hours so the screeching stopped,  but the waves picked up and were slapping something fierce on the transom. Ugh!

Oh boy, morning just came too soon!  First thing on our agenda for the day is to drive into Publix to grocery shop.  Chris's wife and mother-in-law are going to cook a turkey for the cruisers on Thursday so we can all have Thanksgiving together.  What hospitality!  It's going to be a Potluck Thanksgiving.  So....four of us need to pick up a few items.  Deb from sv/Significant Other, Doug, and Chuck(driver), and I jumped into Chris's truck and about 3 miles later we were at the store.  It's nice to get a courtesy vehicle because then we get to see more of our surroundings by land!  However, there isn't much to see here!!

When we got back to our boats, we kept hearing a beeping.  After searching for the sound, we found it to be our depth sounder.  It was going on low tide and with the strong winds today, the water was even lower.  We were sitting on the bottom!  You have got to be kidding!! It's a good thing that there is about 2 feet of soft silt and mud below us.   Then our next problem was our bumper that we strategically placed last night during the rain.  With the wave action, it keeps moving.  Doug from sv/Melinda Kay had a solution.  He ran over to his boat and brought back his fender board.  It works like a dream.  Some boaters used these boards for locking through the Erie Canal. It worked very well and will make for good night's sleep tonight, wind and all.

What a nice lazy afternoon in the warmth of our enclosed cockpit.  Even though it's still blowing hard, and the waves are slapping our boat, it is so nice and cozy in our cockpit. So cozy, that while trying to read my book, I feel asleep!!  When I awoke, it was definitely time to start moving....Chuck and I walked over to the beach.  Given the direction of the winds today, we figured the dunes would act as a buffer and provide us with a warm stroll along the water.....that wasn't the case.  So, needless to say, we didn't walk too far but far enough to find a perfect moon shell and some beach glass!

Later in the afternoon, we were invited to sv/Melinda Kay for happy hour.  Doug wouldn't let us drink our wine until we sampled his specialty...a Moscow Mule.  He served it in a chilled copper cup and boy was it refreshing.  It is a mixture of ginger beer, vodka, and lime. Delicious!  This was  a great ending to the day.

November 28th
Today is Turkey Day!  Happy Thanksgiving everybody!!  It got down to 36 degrees last night but is suppose to  get up to 57 degrees this afternoon for our potluck Thanksgiving dinner.  The sun is shining and when we're out of the wind, it's quite pleasant.   It's still nicer than the Snovember in Ohio!!

I mixed together the ingredients to make Chrissie's baked corn recipe.  Hopefully the propane oven will cooperate and not burn the bottom of the dish!  LOL!  I was planning ahead for a change and bought an apple pie at the Farmers' Market here at the marina on Tuesday.  I also picked up cranberries to add to our meal just in case the baked corn is a flop.....oh well!  I'm sure there will be plenty to eat.  (The baked corn was a hit!  Thanks Chrissie.)

 The gathering started at 1:00 pm.  We had 8 cruisers and about 10 family members of Chris and Brandon(employees).  The food was wonderful...maybe because I wasn't in charge!! Ha, Ha!  We ate at 'the point' amidst palm trees and overlooking the ICW.  The picnic tables were arranged to try to get everyone out of the wind.  I think everyone there had a memorable Thanksgiving!!   I really enjoyed the meal because there were so many dishes that were new to us.  What hospitality!  We definitely are planning on stopping at Marineland Marina on our way home in the spring.

Barb and Doug
Chuck and Barb
David and Deb

Around 3:30, the clouds rolled in and hid the warmth of the sun.  Soon the winds shifted out of the northwest.  It was time to clean up and head back to our boats.  We then went to Doug and Barb's to teach them how to play Mexican Train.  Chuck was the winner-toot, toot- and I know it was because he had such awesome teachers....thanks Al and Colette...miss you!! Before we could leave, we had to play 'Ship, Captain, & Crew.  This dice game was new to both Chuck and I, but fun to play.  Plus, you don't have to strategize, so talking doesn't interfere with playing.

Our game kept getting interrupted.  Chuckie called around 6:00 to let us know our boiler wasn't working.  Chuck tried to talk him through restarting it, but it didn't work.  He called back numerous times  and nothing was remedied.  So Chuckie called a guy that he and his dad both know and it was going to get looked at tomorrow.  Since we have hot water heat, this could turn into a real mess if the house gets too cold and freezes.  Then, our next interruption was when a houseboat pulled in at 9:30 and docked between 'Melinda Kay' and one other boat.   Chuck and Doug ran up out of the cockpit to see what was going on and if they could help.  This houseboat, 'Final Approach', was 78 feet long and the captain was solo!  The capt. thought he had sideswiped Doug and Barb's boat.  We don't know how the guy put that huge boat into the tiny space between the two boats....whew....what a close call.

We called it quits after Chuck won again!  He must be cheating!!  We needed to get to bed early because both boats were planning on leaving early in the morning....up at 6 am to cast off at 7.  We want to make it to an anchorage in Daytona and then  Saturday on to Titusville. 

Goodnight to all!

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