Tuesday, May 29, 2007

May 29, 2007 Georgia (Part 2 of 2 – Northern Florida is Part 1 below)

We have been terribly lax lately concerning the blog…but we are going to attempt to catch up! Our last entry was from Rodriques Key in Florida, just west of Key Largo. Since we are in Georgia now, we are posting two blogs – one for northern Florida (below) and one for Georgia. So, read the Florida blog first and then this Georgia blog will finally ‘catch us up’. We enjoy all the nice comments from family and friends on the blog. We are glad that you are having as much fun with it as we are.

What has become one of our favorite anchorages is off of Cumberland Island, GA, where we anchored for a few days. This is an island that was once owned by the Carnegie family. It is where the late John Kennedy, Jr. and Carolyn Bessette secretly married and honeymooned. It is now partly owned by the National Park Service and there is only one Inn and a handful of “grandfathered” private homes still on the island. It is full of wild horses, armadillos, wild turkeys, deer and bird life.

We took the dingy about a mile to the island to go exploring the next day…but as we got about 50 yards from the dock, the dingy engine died! We took the paddles out and got to the dock. We couldn’t get the engine started again so we just walked around and saw the sights. When we got back to the dingy, with high hopes that it would start, we found that it still wouldn’t. Luckily, another couple returned to their dingy to head back to their boat, and they towed us back to Rickshaw. Of course TowBoat U.S. was just a radio call away, so we didn’t fret too much. Just another thing to get fixed!!

Our next stop was in St. Simons, GA. We stayed at our favorite marina, Golden Isles Marina. They have nice wide fairways so getting the boat into the slip is easy. BUT the most important thing is that they deliver muffins each morning to the boat before sunrise! Nice breakfast. We got to see Rick's first grade friend, Gayle and his wife Dee, again and we had a great dinner at the Coastal Kitchen restaurant right at the marina. Gayle was getting ready for a Presidential visit to the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center where he runs the show. Gayle is, more importantly, planning to retire, finally, after 42 years, on July 3rd. We welcome him into the wonderful world of retirement. It is a great place to be.

From St. Simons, GA we went to a marina on the southern side of Savannah called Isle of Hope. They have a courtesy car (…a green Lexus ES300, with a trailer hitch…really…) and we took it today to run some errands and see the historic town. It is a beautiful little place full of historic homes. Rick was finally persuaded to get a haircut after 3 months of growth … almost ponytail time. Tonight we will borrow the car again and go to one of the local seafood restaurants. Tomorrow we leave for Hilton Head and a visit with the friends we made in Melbourne, FL. They were able to get us an extra free night in the marina so we’ll have time for more boat chores!!

At this point we are just shy of 2000 miles on this trip, which puts us about 400 ICW miles from home in Morehead City, NC.

This is the head of a manatee at the dingy dock at Cumberland Island. Hard to get a good picture of them.

Wild horses grazing on the shore. There were hundreds of them on the island.

Walking to the ruins of Dungenous estate which was built by the Carneiges in the late 1800's. It was destroyed by fire in the 1930's.

A beautiful rainbow. We had been having bad rains off and on for several days. Luckily, this last one passed us by.

Being towed by Mary and Mike back to Rickshaw with their 3 hp motor!! A horse in the arbor in the Dungenous mansion gardens.
May 29, 2007 Part 1 of 2 No Name Harbor, Key Biscayne through St. John’s River

We went next to the No Name anchorage (it is really called that!), a little harbor at the southern tip of Key Biscayne. We took the dingy into a Cuban restaurant and had a great meal. From there we ran ‘outside’ in the Atlantic, about 2 miles offshore, to get back to Lake Worth. The ICW from Miami up to Lake Worth has lots of bridges and we wanted to avoid them, since we had enough of a taste of trying to time their openings coming south. It was a 10 ½ hour run but we had light winds and relatively calm seas so it wasn’t a big deal, especially with the autopilot. We just played lots of Jimmy Buffet music to while away the hours.

When we left Lake Worth the next morning, Rick was on the bow pulling up our anchor chain with the windlass, and Lynnie was maneuvering the boat. As the last 25 feet or so of chain came onto the boat the windlass gave a mighty groan. Rick looked over the bow roller and discovered we had snagged a much larger anchor chain which someone had abandoned. He got the boat hook and managed to wrestle the offending chain off our anchor. However, now the boat hook was carrying all the abandoned chain and could not be freed, so he finally let go, but at least our boat was free.

We went back to a marina that we had enjoyed on our southern run in Melbourne FL. It is a cool little town. I got to ride my bike to the grocery store while Rick did boat chores and changed the oil and filters in the 2 main engines and 2 generators. We met some new friends who own a sail boat and we had a couple of good meals with them. They live in Hilton Head so we are planning on stopping to see them as we go north.

Our next stop was in an anchorage in St. Augustine. We did some trip planning at that point. Our boat slip in Morehead City, NC is rented through June 16 so we discovered we had some extra days. So from St. Augustine we decided to head for Jacksonville, FL up the St. John’s River about 15 miles. We stayed at the River City Marina and Brewing Company (seemed appropriate). We took the water taxi across the river to the newly renovated downtown area which is called Jacksonville Landing. This is a shopping and restaurant complex done by the same company that updated the Baltimore Inner Harbor. All the water activity and lights of the city were pretty neat. It was a fun time.

The St. John’s river actually flows north from central Florida about 140 miles to Jacksonville. Since we had heard and read it was all navigable and a beautiful trip, we decided to take a couple of days cruising the St. John’s river. It was, indeed, beautiful and the southern reaches, below Palatka were narrow and deep with cypress swamp, Spanish Moss laden live oak trees, and occasional patches of water hyacinth. We spent 2 days on the river, finally turning back north about 80 miles south of Jacksonville.

From there we planned to head for Cumberland Island, GA. We’ve had a great time in Florida but are glad to be heading north.

Lynnie at the Cuban restaurant with Rickshaw in the anchorage.

This is Stiltsville, which is where fisherman built fishing homes near Key Biscayne until the hurricanes took most of them away and the city banned further development. There are just a few homes left.
This little guy joined us about 2 miles offshore in the Atlantic. He took a power nap for about 15 minutes and then left us to find his flock. We enjoyed having him onboard. The day before Rick went down in the galley and there was another guy who come into the saloon when we left the door open. Rick was able to get him out with no problems!

On the way up the St. John's river to Jacksonville. Container ships and tugs were working the waterfront.

Jacksonville at night is a pretty sight. The bridges are all lit. This is the Main Street lift bridge with another bridge lit up behind it.
Rick by the fountain near the River City Marina and Brewing Co. Rick and I asked a Park Ranager to take our picture looking over the Main Street Bridge. Coming up the St. John's River into Jacksonville.

The fountain at night. It changed colors continuously and was just amazing.

This is a small village that we anchored next to in the lower reaches of the St. John's river near a small town called Welaka. The last picture shows what they call 'Old Florida' with water hyacinth. Pretty place.