Friday, December 26, 2008

Florida Turning Warm and Cheery

This set of photos show the range of December 14 from the Florida  beach skyline and the view backward over our dinghy, the beard that was and Annie still very happy and finally the Christmas lights at the Delray Beach Marina.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

1. Our day at Cape Canaveral and Kennedy Space Center was inspiring. This is the Rocket Garden. 2. BIG
hotels along the Florida coast, taken from Calliope on the ICW, looking east. 3. That furry beard was mostly gone an hour after this shot. 4. View from our cockpit at the Del Ray Harbor Club Marina. We motored through a canyon of huge yachts to reach our slip, the only sailboat in sight. The swimming pool is always open, so we swam in the dark.

We walked and walked in the old city of St. Augustine. It's narrow streets were lined with buildings that dated back to the 1700s. Plant life was colorful and abundant and the holiday spirit was in full swing.

We anchored on the Matanzas River (that's us out in the middle, in an impressive current) and toured the nearby Fort Matanzas, restored and complete with a talented interpreter. That gun was heavy!

1. and 2. The shrimp boats invite ooohs and aaaahs! They sprout wings that fold when not in use, they carry gorgeous nets in rich colors, they sway from side to side in the waves. At night, the decks are brightly lit, passing like a big party. 3. Dietrich jumped in the dinghy to follow the shrimp boats as they went home. Later, he returned with the freshest shrimp, complete with heads and long whiskers. Yum. 4. and 5. We had many really cold mornings throughout November and early December. Those blue mugs are full of strong, syrupy coffee, hot, hot.

These are the neighborhoods where we walked in Beaufort, S.C. The second one is the house where THE BIG CHILL was filmed. Landscapes were lush, Spanish Moss was ethereal, the two story front porches were so...Southern.

1. The Beaufort, S.C. bridge, in mid swing 2. Boat in the harbor
3. Some towns do turtles, some do cows...Beaufort does mermaids!
4. and 5. Spanish Moss on Live Oaks, southern porches and little neighborhood streets

Dietrich's solo run from Charleston to Beaufort, SC

Annie left the boat to visit her parents, leaving me to sail a couple of days alone. These images show the scenery and what happens when the Captain attempts to enter a shallow anchorage at low tide. Especially awkward with a 6 foot tidal range. No harm done.

ICW Skies

Somewhere north of Charleston, SC, both the sunset and sunrise were amazing.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Southeast Coast

Residents of St. Marys, Georgia have made a tradition of providing turkey and ham to cruisers each Thanksgiving. More than 200 of us gathered in the dining room at a local hotel for a wonderful dinner. Each boat represented shared a dish to pass. What fun!

The tides along the Georgia coast range from seven to nine feet and currents are strong, often unpredictable. It was beautiful country, but we were glad to reach calmer waters. St. Augustine, Florida was an oasis we hope to visit again. Vero Beach was another good stop, especially nice because we caught up with several cruisers we had met earlier in the trip. We stayed an extra day to meet Traverse City cruisers, Laurie and Paul Welser. It was a wonderful visit! They are full time cruisers now and their boat is truly a warm, welcoming home.

The ICW has been a shallow ditch through much of Florida. We often see less than a foot of water beneath keel and room to pass is at a premium.

Ken Richmond, another Traverse City friend, will meet us in Miami on the 17th, with hopes of sailing across to Bimini with us. We won't cross that Gulf Stream unless weather is just right, so we may need to wait for a few days after Ken arrives. We're prepared to spend that time eating as much Cuban food as we can tolerate!

Happy holidays to all of you. Take time to have fun!