Well, at about 12:30 today, Dec 10th, we cast our lines off and departed the dock at Green Cove Springs. Off for another season of adventures in a small boat.
Arriving at the marina on Nov 20th, we found the boat to be in good condition after the summer, with very little evidence of mildew to be found. Murray buffed the hull again, with Aquabuff, and she shines as though she was brand new. We put on a new coat of bottom paint and did a few other jobs aboard. By Tuesday, Nov 28th, we were ready to launch.
Then, tidy up the mess down below as friends arrive on the 30th! Linda and Kuyler flew down for a week visit to help us get the boat ready. We put them to work, washing the yard dirt off of the deck, polishing the ports both outside and in and helping me stock the boat with cans and other groceries. Meanwhile, Murray was dealing with his own issues – a wind generator to install ( replacement for the old unit ), a cracked elbow on the cooling system, leaking stuffing box, etc etc. Mostly we tried to stay out of his way!
But it wasn’t all work and no play. The marina had a lovely Thanksgiving potluck on the 23rd and even us Canadians got in on the act. Paul, the yard manager, supplied a turkey and a ham and the boaters brought the rest. Yumm. With Linda and Kuyler, we managed to take one night off to visit Clark’s Fish Camp in Jacksonville. That was an experience! Delicious seafood in interesting surroundings and good friends to share it with.
When Linda and Kuyler headed back, we got really serious. I had an opportunity to purchase a used Sailrite sewing machine, on launch day. It had a few problems but we got those ironed out and it works like a charm. I made a canvas storage bag, with a full length zipper, to store Murray’s Fortress anchor. Now, we are looking at making our own dodger and bimini, in the spring.
The waterline slowly disappeared as we hauled groceries back to the boat and stowed them away. The new portable Engel freezer is jammed packed with meats and tucked in the aft cabin. The freezer in the icebox is filled with cold meats and cheeses.
Now, to remove the old batteries and install the new ones. Those are darn heavy things! We created an elevator with a milk crate and the spinnaker halyard. That job went better than we expected. The biggest hold-up was the laundry. But, after about 3 hours, it was done and folded.
Today, we got up, closed the boat tightly and set off insect bombs to kill any cockroaches that might have decided to travel with us. Then air the boat out again, stow the car away, and toss the lines.
The sun is shining brightly but the wind has a cold bite to it. We will travel as far down the river today as we can, entering the ICW tomorrow. And then, travel as fast as we can, heading south. But that is only at 6 to 7 knots! Arising at dawn and anchoring at dusk, we can expect to make about 60 to 70 miles per day, equivalent to one hour by car. Slow, huh?
Once we get south of Vero Beach, we will start looking for weather windows to cross the Gulf Stream. But, that is a few days away.
My new knee has not given me much trouble. Occasionally, it swells up some and I try to sit down more the next day. But, there is no pain or heat in the joint. All good things.
We finally found a new, tiny tree for the boat and acquired some lights today. Soon, we may get some decorations up for Christmas. I keep forgetting that it is so close.
Stay warm everyone.
Hugs to all, Heather & Murray