Well, here we are in sunny Florida, HA! HA! But more on that later
We left Beaufort, NC on Saturday, Nov. 3 on our own and apparently we made the right decision. We heard from the group we were travelling with and they got laid up there for an additional three days after their intended departure date. Winds picked up after we left, boats grounded and one was reported as partially submerged. Our trip down the ICW was really very nice for a number of days; the wind was a little breezy but nothing unbearable (nothing to sail with either, most of the time it was right on our nose).
We spent the next few days of travel just motoring along and enjoying the vast differences in the scenery. For three days we ran very close to the Atlantic Ocean; at times it was as if we could reach out and touch it. We passed through the numerous, gorgeous, golf courses in Myrtle Beach, passed busy fishing ports, saw beautiful sunrises and sunsets, and finally got to see some dolphin. As much time is spent in “land cuts” where there is barely enough room for two boats to pass each other as time spent in more open water. Even in these wide bodies of water you could look to you left or right and see birds (pelicans, loons, and seagulls) resting on sand spits; with a tidal range of 3-8 feet much of the land is exposed at low tide, we really have to watch where we are going. More than once we have watched a boat go aground; it’s so nice to have a catamaran and we have heard from others that they wish at time they had one!
Georgia had the flattest landscape we’ve seen yet; the creeks and rivers serpentine through marshlands. Anchored in a creek all we could see for miles was a sea of grass and perhaps another boat miles off in the distance. For the most part the winds picked up around 2:30 when we anchor or tie up for the night and has totally become calm for the night.
And then we reached Florida. We sailed into Florida at 12:05 p.m. on Monday; The winds had picked up steadily since late morning and we used our headsail to help push us along. By the time we anchored the winds were howling between 15-25 knots. It is needless to say that we spent a very uncomfortable, sleepless night at anchor in Fort George River among other boats. Weather reports indicated that the winds would remain for several days. We decided to pull up anchor and head south to St. Augustine and dock at a marina.
We pulled in at the Camache Island Marina yesterday; it is a beautiful place with concrete floating docks, gas available on each dock, laundry facilities, stores, internet access and much more. We intended on spending just the night, but it has rained all night and all day and right now we are in gale force winds (35+ knots) and we may be here yet tomorrow. We used the marina courtesy car to drive into St. Augustine (actually 1 mile away) but the rain and winds were so intense we couldn’t actually see much of anything. We did see the anchorage where we had intended on going and there were whitecaps in the water and the boats anchored there were bobbing around like little toys. Here at the marina we have been watching huge sport fishing (Viking-beautiful) boats come in to tie up and get bounced into the docks. A huge Viking has pulled in behind us and looks as if it will swallow us. At present the winds are howling at 25-35 knots and it’s raining again but we are happy to be here; at least the air is warmer and we are not all bundled up in our winter garb.. If this were blowing at home we can imagine the wind chill factor!!! And we were worried about MICHELLE!!! It really is amazing how we watch the weather now. We used to take it for granted–never having to worry about it so much, but now it’s our life!
We are approximately 210 miles from Stuart, FL our first destination. With any luck we shall be there by Sunday or Monday at the latest, weather permitting and then hope to spend some relaxing time there enjoying the sights.