Crossing back to the US Florida Coast, Port Canaveral, Daytona Beach, St Augustine, and Fernandina Beach, Florida   2 comments

Submitted late due to lack of available wifi

early ManJack departure

early ManJack departure

We departed Marsh Harbor on 25 March, crossed the Whale Passage without any issues, and headed for the Manjack Cay anchorage.  We were originally planning to go into White Sound at Green Turtle Cay for a few days but Chris Parker indicated a potential weather window in a few days so we decided to anchor at Manjack then sail over to Great Sale Cay to position for a crossing back to the US.  We were mentally not ready to depart the Bahamas but when a weather window presented itself, we jumped on it. 

On 26 March, we departed Manjack Cay early so we could arrive at Great Sale before sunset.  It

sunset Great Sale

sunset Great Sale

is so hard to anchor at Great Sale when it is dark.  Enroute to Great Sale, we spotted several large thunder storms on the horizon but they dissipated with the day’s passage.  We arrived at the north-west side of Great Sale Cay and decided to anchor on the outside due to the south-east winds we had.  After a very pleasant night at anchor, we departed Great Sale at 7:10am.  With 20 knots of south-east winds, we were making good time motor sailing into two foot seas.  As we got about eight miles from deep Atlantic water, we were joined by a dolphin who swam in our bow wave for several minutes.  We got a great video of our dolphin escort on our GoPro but we still have to figure it out on how to show or attach the video to our blog.  We reached the deep part of the Atlantic Ocean at 3:00pm where the waves were abeam from the west at 3-4 feet and the

sunrise Great Sale

sunrise Great Sale

winds were south-west 13-17 knots.  As we continued, the winds grew to 20-37 knots with waves 6-8 feet.  Our GPS speed over ground continued to range from 8-11 knots….we were moving!  We encountered several cruise and cargo ships along the way and our AIS worked great.  It was encouraging when we could tell from AIS where the ship was and how to avoid it in the process.  To keep our things on edge, around 2:00am, we spotted lightening and a potential thunderstorm in our way.  Yes, it started to get a bit exciting.  We decided to lower sails….just in time too as we encountered a squall with over 50 knots of wind and some wild lightening shows.  Okay, enough with the bad weather.  Following a short interval of nasty weather, we sighted the lights of Port Canaveral on the horizon. 

As we got closer, we spotted what we thought was a cruise ship departing the Port Canaveral channel.  Our AIS indicated it was a pilot boat….instead, it was a huge dredge at the mouth of the channel.  Following several frantic….yes, frantic, radio calls, the dredge operator finally responded and indicated their port side was clear of any dredging discharge tubes.  So, we passed to the port side of the dredge and continued into the port.  We pulled into Cape Marina fuel dock at 4:40am, making this the fastest passage from Great Sale to Port Canaveral we have ever made.  After a long shower and a big cup of coffee with breakfast, we called Customs and reported back into the US using the “local boater option.”  The local boater option allows one to simply call Customs providing specific information on the passengers and the boat information.  Of course using this system, one has to be processed by Customs prior to departing the US.  The marina opened at 7:00am, when we refueled and moved further down the dock for a more permanent tie-up.  After washing the boat, we decided to take a short nap in an effort to “recycle” our body into a normal day back into the US.  A Canadian boat, S/V Grace, departed Great Sale with us but since our speed was so high, they arrived approximately two hours behind us….not too bad in a 152 mile trek.  Later that afternoon, we had dinner with S/V Grace at a local restaurant and we were both amazed at the price of the dinner….which was approximately half that what we would have paid in the Bahamas.  Following dinner, and after a bit of TV watching, we were both in bed before 9:00pm and had a great night’s sleep.  Yep, it is good to be back in the US!

Following a couple of nights at Cape Marina, we departed on 30 March for Daytona Beach.  Unfortunately, the Canaveral Locks were under repairs so were closed from 07:00am to 5:00pm every day.  This meant we had to depart Cape Marina at 5:55am in order to get through the first bascule bridge then pass through the locks before it closed at 7:00am.  When we got into the locks, we found only one cleat to secure our boat to the side of the lock….okay, at best, we need two cleats…one for the bow and another to the stern.  Needless to say, it took us three tries to secure to the one cleat…especially with the 27 knots of cross winds we had.  Of course the lock tender reminded us at one time that he could not operate the locks until we were secured.  Okay, Terri had to threaten to give me some thorazine to calm down a bit so that I would not advise the lock tender to at least assist us in securing to the ONE cleat vice telling us to secure the boat…..but I regress!  Once cleared of the lock, we then had to do a “slow crawl” for the next mile and a half to wait since the next bascule bridge did not open until 8:30am, due to traffic restrictions.  So much for the Canaveral Barge Locks……!

Once clear of the barge locks and canal, we entered into the ICW and headed north to Daytona Beach.  Our winds ranged from 25-35 knots winds and we were flying along the ICW.  We normally are required to wait for the opening of the New Smyrna Beach Bascule Bridge…this time, as we approached the bridge, the bridge tender opened the bascule bridge.  Terri graciously thanked the bridge tender for the timely opening.  We even passed through the Ponce de Leon inlet area without any issues….last year, we ran firmly aground at that chock point.  We arrived at Halifax Harbor Marina in Daytona Beach at 5:30pm….a long day!  Following a nice Italian dinner at the Original Stavros Pizza House, we had a good night’s sleep.  Yep, it is good to be back in the US! 

sunset St Augustine

sunset St Augustine

We departed Daytona Beach on 31 March, made it through all of the fixed and bascule bridges, and arrived at the St Augustine south mooring field seven hours after we began.  We did a bit of refurbishing the boat stocks and linked up with old friends for dinner from S/V Plan B.  We met Phil and Irene, a British couple from S/V Plan B, four years ago in the Bahamas and have ran into them in various locations throughout the Bahamas.   

Terri notes she is a bit stuffy and feeling a bit under the weather.  She is running a light fever so we decide to push fluids and get her as much rest as possible.  Last year, I caught a virus of some sort and was “sick” for a week with high temps and just that feeling bad all over.  So, we just chilled and relaxed until 4 April. 

With Terri feeling a bit better, we departed St Augustine and went offshore to Fernandina Beach. 

sunset Fernandina

sunset Fernandina

Terri at Cumberland

Terri at Cumberland

With winds ranging from 10-15 knots, we had a pleasant motor sail.  We decided to pull into Fernandina Beach Marina for a few days, again just chilling, doing some laundry, getting haircuts, and doing a walk-about through Fernandina. We also got to watch some boat “follies” as boats try to dock in 20 knot cross winds with strong tidal flow currents.  Of course, we had to remind ourselves that we have done the same “crash and bang” boat docking sometimes under similar conditions. 

sunset Cumberland Island

sunset Cumberland Island

On 6 April, we departed Fernandina Beach Marina and headed a short

Bill at Dungeness ruins

Bill at Dungeness ruins

distance to anchor off Cumberland Island.  Cumberland Island is one of our favorite spots to anchor along the US East Coast and is a national park.  Three years ago, Billy obtained a “senior pass” so all entry fees to national parks for us are waived. 

more horses

more horses

We dinked in and

Terri with horses

Terri with horses

“chased” the wild horses from one end to the another….well, not really chased but every time we do a walk-about in search of the wild horses…if we go to the north of the island…well, the horse are on the southern end…

Wild horses

Wild horses

and vice versa.  This trip, we noted some new young ponies in the herd…pretty neat! 

We were taking our time in an effort to perhaps have good weather to

barge traffic

barge traffic

go northward offshore.  Unfortunately, the weather is not cooperating so we plan to depart on the ICW on 8 April to go to St Simons, GA.  Going offshore, we do not have to worry about tides, bridges, shoal areas,

mark out of the water

mark out of the water

other boat traffic, etc.  Offshore, all we need to do is set the sails and go.  So, until our next update….

Bill and Terri      

Posted April 13, 2016 by svsecondoption in Uncategorized

2 responses to “Crossing back to the US Florida Coast, Port Canaveral, Daytona Beach, St Augustine, and Fernandina Beach, Florida

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  1. Welcome home Bill and Terri! What an fantastic adventure you had! Hope to see you this summer! ⛵️

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