Tuesday, January 23, 2007

January 20, 2007 Fernandina Beach, FL

We made it to Florida! We had an uneventful trip from St. Simons to Fernandina Beach, passing the King’s Bay Nuclear Submarine Base. As we approached from the north a small patrol boat with red light flashing came running out to us; we initially thought he might want to board us but he ran on by and we heard him talking to the sail boat following us.

Fernandina Beach is one of the oldest towns which was discovered in the mid-1500’s and most of the buildings dating from the 1800’s. It reminded us of Beaufort, NC. We toured the town and had fish and chips at O’Kane’s Irish Pub. We had planned another day here to enjoy the town and the weather. The sun came out and we had shorts and t-shirts on for the first time, but this is a boat, so rather than doing that, Rick spent the afternoon trying to fix a slow leak in the forward head. Joy! I helped by handing him the requisite tools (tough job). The leak went from bad to worse then back to just bad, so we gave it up for the moment … with a mini bucket under the leaking valve. Guess a new part needs to be ordered.

One note on the folks here; we needed to go to the grocery store and were going to take a cab but sport fisherman, Capt. Bill, across the dock from us heard us ask directions and told us he would take us and bring us back. He was a real character and we took him up on his offer. Nice people!

Following is a picture we took the afternoon of our second day. The skipper of this sail boat either made a gross error in navigation, or a big mistake in his tidal range math. The tide here is about 7'. He managed to float the sail boat off on the next high tide and reposition.

About 8:00PM we were sitting on the aft deck and began to hear jet airplanes. Now, these planes were really loud, and we wondered where they were coming from. Turns out it was the paper mill, just south of town, venting stuff. I can’t quite imagine getting used to that amazing noise on a regular basis.

When we turned in at the party-animal crack of 9:00PM we heard an unmistakable snapping or popping all around the master stateroom … most of which is below the waterline. We’ve read that this sound generally comes from shrimp which use their claws as sonar, with the noise resulting from the water jet emitted by their claws snapping shut at up to 60 mph … guide books have some really interesting stuff. Another interesting, and new to us, happening is the presence of Manatee warning signs, and guidebook discussion of alligators and salt water crocodiles. Guess we’re in Florida.