Cumberland Island, Georgia, St Augustine, and Vero Beach, Florida   1 comment

Submitted late due to lack of available wifi.

A comment about available wifi. This year, Hurricane Matthew caused a lot of infrastructure issues – high water, flooding, downed trees, lots of debris in the water, lost docks, and of course, no wifi. We understand folks along the way were trying to put their lives back together and wifi was the least of their worries.

Offshore to Cumberland Island, GA

Offshore to Cumberland Island, GA

On 22 October, we departed St Simons, Georgia and traveled again offshore to Cumberland Island. We had east-southeast winds with following seas so we were literally surfing the whole way. We were informed Cumberland Island was closed due to extensive damage by Hurricane Matthew so we anchored off the ice house dock without approaching the island. We generally

Lots of boats washed ashore

Lots of boats washed ashore

stay at Cumberland for a week and explore the island but this time we noted sections of the floating dinghy docks were missing and there were lots of downed trees. Hurricane Matthew also destroyed the Fernandina Beach Marina and mooring field, both could be out of commission until sometimes late 2017.

sunrise Cumberland Island, GA

sunrise Cumberland Island, GA

So after only one night at anchor, we departed via St Mary’s inlet and with light winds, proceeded offshore to the St John’s River inlet where we continued south down the ICW. To get to St Augustine, we had to use the ICW

Traffic St Johns River

Traffic St Johns River

because Hurricane Matthew’s wind and wave actions had moved all of the marker buoys at St Augustine and the inlet was officially closed by the Coast Guard. We anchored in the Tomato River, just north of St Augustine to time our approach with the tides into St Augustine and spent a very quiet night anchored next to S/V High Z’s, who we met last year along the trek down the ICW and in the Bahamas.

sunset Tolmato River

sunset Tolmato River

On 26 October, we arrived in St Augustine, Florida. St Augustine is another location where we stay for a while but when we made our reservations, the mooring field was still closed due to Hurricane Matthew’s damage so we were placed in a slip. A small number of moorings were made available during our stay but we just decided to stay in the slip since we had rented a car to cast our vote early. St Augustine had

We voted early

We voted early

received the brunt of Hurricane Matthew but most of the local restaurants on St George’s Street were open. While sections of old St Augustine were still closed due to flooding residual; there were lots of downed tree debris piled along the road waiting for pickup.

We did get an opportunity to have lunch with Jim and Stephanie Weeks, who were in the sailing club we belonged to and who also provided the inspiration for us to do what we are doing, being cruisers. Lunch was a good time to catch up with Jim and Stephanie and even though they are no longer cruisers, they are living the good life and definitely enjoying it. It is always good to see them and I could never get tired to listening to Jim’s stories of their Bahamian escapades.

Docks are gone

Docks are gone

After four short days, we decided to depart St Augustine for points further south. We originally had planned to stay at least a week in Cumberland Island and Fernandina Beach, then another week in St Augustine, but with the St Augustine moorings still not in full operations, it was time for us to move

We saw sails ripped

We saw sails ripped

on.

As we departed St Augustine and cleared the fixed bridge to the south, we saw further evidence of Hurricane Matthew’s damage. Talking with the marina staff at St Augustine, we were told several folks decided to stay on their boats during the hurricane. So not only were the boats from the moorings washed ashore; they also carried their owners. Although no one was injured, several

another wrecked boat

another wrecked boat

boats were still on shore and a lot of docks were damaged.

We had a smooth trip from St Augustine to Daytona, where we stayed at Halifax Harbour Marina. After settling into the marina, we had a very nice dinner at our favorite Italian restaurant, Stefanos. Stefanos is a small restaurant, serving the best homemade lasagna and other Italian cuisines around. We decided to stay an extra day in Daytona to catch up with admin stuff and boat cleaning. We also caught up with doing laundry; you never know just how many clothes you go through until you have to wash them. Oh well, after doing all of our chores, we just

departing St Augustine at sunrise

departing St Augustine at sunrise

chilled and had a quiet afternoon.

We departed Daytona on 1 November and timed our approach through the New Smyrna Beach area at almost high tide. New Smyrna Beach is a traditional area on the ICW marked with low water and pretty swift current. We ran aground there several years ago so we always transit the area going very slow and cautious; the lowest water depths we saw were 10-12 feet….that’s good since we draw close to six foot being so loaded.

Our biggest entertainment of the day was after the George Mussan Bascule Bridge. A sailboat which had been behind us managed to get in front of us coming through the bascule bridge. As we moved around toward the fixed bridge, the sailboat in front tried to cut a corner and went on the starboard side (the wrong side) of the green channel marker. We both watched in amazement as his boat suddenly sprang forward with the stern of the boat coming out of the water….yep, he had ran hard aground. After a bit of time, the current turned him around and he was pointed back toward the channel, slowly working himself into deep water. Okay, we are not supposed to be amused at someone who runs aground, as we all do it sometimes, but that was pretty funny, particularly

sunset Titusville

sunset Titusville

since he was so intent on his going first through the bascule bridge. We proceeded on the rest of the day with no problems….and no further amusement! We saw several manatees and dolphins along the way but never seemed to take their photo. When you have the camera ready, you never see anything. We stopped at the Titusville mooring field for the

chilling Titusville

chilling Titusville

night and had a very peaceful evening of TV watching.

We departed the Titusville mooring field on 2 November. Our

Chilling Titusville

Chilling Titusville

original plan was to anchor at Addison Point, only about 10 miles away, and take a few days to chill before we arrived at Vero Beach but the morning weather forecast looked bad for the remainder of the week…. so we decided it might be better to go on to Vero Beach early. We find that weather, more than anything, is the deciding factor in

A bird joined us from Titusville

A bird joined us from Titusville

our travels. So, instead of stopping at Addison Point, we continue to Blue Fish Point for the night. Our winds ranged from 20-30 knots from the east-south-east and we arrived at our anchorage at mid-afternoon. We noted our travel log as having gone 989 nautical miles so far since we departed Solomons, Maryland.

sunrise Bluefish Point anchorage

sunrise Bluefish Point anchorage

We departed Blue Fish Point anchorage on 3 November heading toward Vero Beach, 26 nautical miles away. Our morning is cool and mostly cloudy. The winds were blowing in the 20 knot range from the east. One of our last obstacles (?) for us to get through was the Wabassa fixed bridge, which was supposed to provide 65 foot of clearance. The water-board markings showed a bit over 63 feet when we approached the bridge. We held our breath and squeaked under the bridge with our 63 foot mast, binding back our VHF whip antenna

One thousand nautical miles gone so far

One thousand nautical miles gone so far

on the top of the mast. Yep, it was going to be another rum night from our antennas touching another fixed bridge. But, we made it through without knocking anything off and arrived at Vero Beach at midday. After waiting for a few other boats to refuel, we pulled into the fuel dock and topped off our fuel tank and got a pump-out. We are about two weeks early but the

Second Option near the mangroves

Second Option near the mangroves

marina was not full at this point. They assigned us to mooring ball #20, which is located across from the fuel dock but close to the mangrove area. We soon learned how bad the mosquitoes and no-see-ums could be! Just before dark, the mosquitoes and no-see-ums arrived with vengeance as we scurried to install our screens around the cockpit…..oops…..way too late as they ate us all night.

a nice day

a nice day

After spending a restless night chasing down the biting insects, we decided we had to do something different….or get another blood transfusion to replace what the insects had drawn off! We have never experienced this many biting insects, even more so than when we anchored in the South Carolina and Georgia mangrove and saw grass areas. So with extra screening material we had on hand, we decided to double the screening material over all of the opening hatches. Coupled with the full cockpit screen enclosures, the system worked and we were able to get some restful sleep. We could even sit in the cockpit and read without being carried off. You never want to be carried off by the little biting insects as they will carry you to the big ones……..!

Vero Beach dinghy dock

Vero Beach dinghy dock

After defeating the insect invasion, we stay busy by doing errands and getting the boat ready for the Bahamas. The Vero Beach bus system is great and we are able to get to places we need to. One of the issues we have had was a leaking water hose. We checked it

arrgh

arrgh

out and the leak was coming from a small crack in the water hose itself and not coming from the tank. Of course, it was in a very inconvenient place to get to. After removing the steps and half of the flooring, we were able to pull the water hose from its connection and weave it out through the access (?) hole. We cut a quarter inch section out of the hose using a drimmel tool, added a connector and spliced the hose back together. The trick was weaving the hose back through the access hole and reconnecting it back to the water tank. But with Terri’s wise directions, (yes, I knew she was a keeper), the reconnection process took about two minutes….and we have the leak repaired! We later filled the water tank and there are no leaks…..yahoo! Yes, having a boat is a real pain sometimes and there are always things to do!

another bird stow-away

another bird stow-away

We will remain on the mooring ball until 19 November then park the boat into the marina and drive back to northern Virginia for Thanksgiving. Following Thanksgiving, we will

a pretty sunset

a pretty sunset

drive back to Vero Beach, then depart and move the boat further south to Lake Worth and wait for our weather window to cross over to the Bahamas.

So, until our next update……

Bill and Terri

Posted November 24, 2016 by svsecondoption in Uncategorized

One response to “Cumberland Island, Georgia, St Augustine, and Vero Beach, Florida

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  1. Thank you for the update. It must have been heartbreaking to see all of the devastation. I know you enjoyed your Thanksgiving with the family. Safe travels South.

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