Gulf Stream

We left Palm Beach (Lake Worth inlet) in the dark. I was ready to leave earlier, after speed boat wakes had tossed me head over tail in the cockpit, but Albert wisely had us time our West End arrival for daylight.

The crossing itself was beautiful. We used passageweather.com and local NOAA to check wave heights and wind direction. There was heat lightening. The inlet was kinda scary going out, confusing lights, and then a watcful coast guard boat zoomed up to make sure we weren’t terrorists. But then we were sailing across a star filled ocean.

We headed due South/ Southeast for over an hour and then started across the stream. The sea was just as predicted and we sailed through soft rolling waves sparkling with phosphorescence, heat lightening giving us glimpses of the lovely sea. Stars stars stars! Half way, the wind died out and we had to motor. We have already gone for a beautiful swim and snorkel.

I’m hurrying to write this on my phone and get it posted before we head out today to a place where there is plenty snorkeling, but no wifi!

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Jungle

We finally found some jungle. We left St Augustine the day after Thanksgiving. That City felt very touristy, too touristy really.

While we enjoyed the architecture and the Thanksgiving cruising community, for some reason I wind up awkwardly telling my horror stories.

“SO the bilge alarm went off! The boat was bashing!” We stayed a full week, I commiserated with fellow sailors to more than I’m sure they appreciated,  and then we were really ready to leave.

It was an easy motor,  less than three hours down the ICW to Marine Land, which is the perfect antidote to St Augustine’s historic wall-lined routes. Tucked between Whitney Research Lab, Florida University on one side of A1a and Marine Land Dolphin Adventures and Hammock Beach (miles of raw exposed white sand Atlantic beach) the marina gave us comfortable dock space in skinny wild neck of the woods.

People were appealing in every hippy biologist way imaginable, the loaner car allowed us to restock our cooler, and the farmers market filled our bread and vegetable basket! We enjoyed walking on the beach, as well as through the jungle trail.

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Some gross stuff

We caught a fish.

We had it for breakfast.

image But between catching it and eating it, we had a lot to digest.

Parental disgression advised.

 

 

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The quietest place in the world

In the morning we motored on the ICW. After we left Charleston, we motored past mile after mile of expensive waterfront summer homes, with their hurricane damaged docks and boats.
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If you don’t believe in climate change, go for a thousand mile boat ride along the Intracoastal waterway. It’s impossible to deny what we can see with our own eyes. The ocean is rising and it’s going to have a huge economic impact.

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While the water in the more northerly parts of the ICW were sadly polluted, this portion of the waterway had the cleansing benefits of thousands of acres of marsh. We saw Pelicans and porpoises and after we got beyond the summer homes and estates we got deeper into the marsh to an area that was so incredibly quiet. We dropped anchor into utter silence. It was incredibly healing, being in the place. We cooked and ate and rested in all our favorite ways. In spite of everything going wrong in the world, we wcompletely safe

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Rest Station

I am learning that there is just no free ride in sailing. After a glorious start to our overnight sail into Charlston, we woke to steep short chop, bashing waves breaking on the bow. Our bilge alarm went off in the morning, and after much exploring, lifting floorboards, we decided the source of all the water in the bilge was the breaking waves. Enough water ran over the bow into the anchor chain locker, to set off the alarm. So the good news was  we didn’t have a freshwater or salt water leak, we had a problem with the bilge pump.  We also have to close off the anchor chain opening when we are out on the ocean.

Albert was able to find some loose wires to tighten and fix our bilge pumps and then we were ready for a few days of sleep. I was exhausted.  I promised I would not complain again about the constant motoring on the intracoastal waterway, as that was a lot more appealing after a night of bashing in the ocean! In sailing as in life, when it’s good, it’s great. When it’s not so good, it’s not so good.

We pushed through the miserable stretch of steep waves, crabbing through to arrive in Charleston.

The air was sooty smokey from wild fires. I’m not keen on Cities anyway so we decided to just keep going. We headed to the Crab Shack, where we knew we could probably tie up for the night if we ate lunch and dinner there.

The Crab Shack is under Wappoo Bridge, which has got to be the loudest bridge in the world. But the people there just accepted the noise as normal. This nighttime post, make it as loud as you can stand to imagine how loud it was! Unreal loud, Albert days it was the metal decking on the bridge. Even if just one car passed it made an ungodly noise. Here is the bridge sound with a river party boat going under  and it  the last thing I heard before I fell into a deep sleep in Albert’s arms with exhausted dogs serving as additional blankets.

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Emergency

When the bilge pump alarm goes off, it is LOUD. If adrenaline is helpful, then loud bilge alarms work great! I had just laid down to close my eyes, Albert was taking over the helm. In this video we were 12 miles out to sea, well off Charlston SC

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In 3.3 knots, sailing fromWrightville Beach to Charlston

The sail started out beatiful, peaceful. I sang to relieve post election stress.

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