Monday, April 28, 2008

Wednesday 4/23/08

Up until today, Neptune has smiled on us for the past several days with the best weather we could have hoped for. Sunny-dry days and calm winds make for comfortable cruising and peaceful nights at anchor. Today is overcast, windy and rainy, but Connie & I are warm and dry in the pilothouse as we continue the trip north.

Here’s a shot of the sunrise leaving the anchorage on the Amelia River in Fernandina, FL where we spent Tuesday evening.

We took on 292 gallons of fuel at Palm Coast Marina the other day. We went in there because the fee for docking is economical; there isn’t what we consider to be a good anchorage nearby and because we also needed a pumpout. Yes, it was painful at $4.08 per gallon. The good news? Well they have a Boat U.S. discount if you buy at least 300 gallons. I whined enough to get the discount, a whopping $0.02 a gallon even though I was 8 gallons short of the 300. Hey, victories come in all sizes and I’ll take what I can get.

Truth be told, the expense in boating is not only fuel as you’d expect, but we also have to consider dockage. At a range of $1.50-$2.00 per foot, plus electricity/taxes, etc. paying for a slip puts us in the range of $65.00 to $80.00 per night. It doesn’t take long for those numbers to add up. On the other hand after 4 years we are getting more confident in our ability to select an anchorage, (free) that is safe and protected from predicted weather. We make our own electricity with the generator and have sufficient water and food to last for days. Plus, the anchorages, (most of the time) are peaceful.

We passed by Little Cumberland Island this morning, (4/23/08) and enjoyed seeing the wild horses grazing on a distant shore. Last year we were primed to take pictures since they were close to the boat. Except that was the time when, “Bubba & the Turk” pulled us over for a safety check and dropped my driver’s license over the side. Conditions weren’t perfect, so the pictures of the horses will have to wait until the fall when we head south.

You’d think that given the length of the trip, (1,500+ miles) that we’d travel anonymously?


Earlier today we were hailed by a vessel that wanted to pass. Connie had the helm and told them that she’d drop back to idle speed to make the maneuver easier for both of us. As they passed, the skipper of the other boat told us that he’d see us in Greenwich Bay this summer. Now our hailing port is Bristol, RI, but these people are from RI and keep their boat in Warwick Cove, close to the Brewer Yard where we spend our summers. Every once in a while we’re reminded of just how small this boating community is.

Early this afternoon we plan to be at Brunswick Landing Marina for a one night stay. Our friends Bill & Robin Evans, (Blue Magic) are docked there and we have dinner reservations. We’ve cruised with these folks for a couple of years both in Lucaya as well as Marathon and shared many sea stories along with several bottles of wine.

Over the next few nights we anchored, sometimes in familiar spots like Queen Bess Creek and others that are new to us this season. There are times when it seems we are miles from any signs of civilization from the time we drop anchor to daybreak. Not a light or building to be seen anywhere. On Friday evening we pulled into Bass Creek not too far off the ICW. I'll let the picture below speak for itself.

Anchoring in Bass Creek

The dolphins have been playing in our bow wave off and on, and seem to be more numerous than in previous years. They come alongside and Connie, (she’s the one with hearing!) can hear them spouting.

Sunday, (4/27/08) we changed plans and rather than anchor decided to spend the night at Bucksport Plantation Marina and Restaurant in where else?? Bucksport, SC. Besides having reasonably priced fuel, ($3.75 gallon) they have locally made country sausage and great chili. This is not a fancy marina, but the folks here are friendly and I’m ready for a bowl of their chili

Point of interest: Bucksport is named for Capt. Henry Buck and was the departure point for huge shipments of yellow pine and cypress. He also lent his name to the shipbuilding community of Bucksport, ME. Busy guy that Capt. Henry!.

We pulled into Bucksport as planned only to discover, (after pumping 15 gallons!) that they had run dry. I was not pleased to say the least, because the bottom of the tank is where the diesel gremlins lurk, waiting to foul my filters and injectors. After voicing my displeasure…………..(my high school Italian teacher would have been impressed with my command of the vernacular); we asked if the restaurant was open? Sure we were told. Except that when the dock attendant returned he explained that the kitchen had just closed.

So, here we were with no fuel and a closed kitchen. Keep in mind I was anticipating that bowl of chili all afternoon. A quick call to nearby Osprey Marina determined that they had fuel at $3.86 and also had a transient space available. That quick our plans changed and we were enroute for Osprey Marina The approach there is a little unnerving, and the basin is tight but well protected. We made a smooth approach, and secured for the night. The fuel tank was topped off and the holding tank was empty. I could make a few analogies here but I’ll leave it to your imagination…….

Monday we pulled off the dock at 6:30 a.m. and headed for an early, (8:30 a.m.) arrival at Grande Dunes. This will qualify as a day off for us, a chance to wash The Rose, do some laundry and then spend some time at the waterfront restaurant-bar. My high school classmate Jere Russo and wife Meredith live in SC and drove to the coast to have dinner with us. What a great time we had!

Jere Russo with yours truly on The Rose

Here are a few more pictures from the Intracoastal Waterway.

Not a bad way to spend a Sunday morning, fly fishing on the river.

Dewee, (Dewey) Creek off the Intracoastal Waterway



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