August 22, 2013

Ponce de Leon's Trail -- St. Augustine, Aug. 2013

"Run my dear,
from anything 
that may not strengthen
Your precious budding wings."


Post #29

Bridge of Lions entrance

Dear God,Is there anyway I could be an Osprey for a day?   Love, Joey

These magical creatures always stop me in my tracks no matter what i'm doing...

Here are some other misc scenes and short snippets from St. Augustine, Florida.  Glory Days spent the month of August here at Rivers Edge Marina.  

A few of the nights were spent on the ever faithful mooring ball next to the famous Bridge of Lions... Amy and I explored a unique area called The Salt Run on Thursday Aug. 15.... She had to return the following day but it a gem of a day we had.... 

Skies, water, glare, breeze.
days like this are what I need. .

You only live once?   False.

You live everyday.
You only die once.

A couple of days later,  Glory Days enjoyed a lovely afternoon anchorage just off off the beach of Ponte Vegra.   Lots of bird life around and good swimming off the back of the boat.... 

At Ponte Vedra people are allowed to bring their vehicles onto the beach there... and they do in a big way, in a good way.
High Flyers...

Rainbow to top off a perfectly executed sail day.... nothing went wrong!

Sunday morning moment.

Happy Family .... Sunday morning 

My Candy Store.... used boat parts!
Sailor's  haven...

This guy was dancing his butt off on the back of this shrimp boat going out to sea... and why not?  

funky greenish bluish odd boat caught my eye.

My neighbors from the mooring ball.  
This huge towering cross is actually a navigation aid for vessels entering the harbor from the Atlantic.... It stands tall, strong and bright to bring mariners safely into the channel and enter St. Augustine.... 

Stay tuned for the sailing trip back north to Fernandina around Labor Day.... Thank you God for safe travels, health, and the ocean.

Blue Dot is Rivers Edge Marina ... the place i be for now.

August 10, 2013

Sometimes You Gotta Buy Your Own Flowers

Respond to every call that excites your spirit.

Here's a recent song I wrote... If you want to see the music video of the song, click here.

Post #28

Sometimes You Gotta Buy Your Own Flowers
Jgreen…. August 10, 2013

Sometimes you gotta wave your own flag.
Sometimes you gotta love just yourself.
Sometimes you gotta buy your own flowers.
Cause they are so lovely to smell.

         I was sitting ever quietly by the seaside.
         Contemplating the beauty of a bird.
         Maybe if I tried, I could learn to fly,
         It’s not really that absurd.

Sometimes you gotta go it on your own.
Sometimes you gotta toot your own horn.
Sometimes you gotta buy your own flowers,
And celebrate the day you were born.

         So I got me running start, and I gave it all my heart,
         Soon I was soaring above the clouds,
         It was better than I dreamed, much easier it seemed,
         Now I’m smiling down at the crowds.

Sometimes you gotta write your own story,
Sometimes you gotta work to carry on.
Sometimes you gotta buy your own flowers,
If you want to fly like a swan.
If you want to glide like a swan.

August 3, 2013

Two Men, One Mission

Post # 27

"Hark, now and hear the sailors cry,
smell the sea, and feel the sky,
let your soul and spirit fly, into the mystic.

- Van Morrison

The time had come for Dixon Hudgins to lock up his office and leave.  But this was no ordinary leave.  This day he was leaving early, and he was not going home as usual.  This was big. As he locked the door, he glanced to the left then a quick look to the right... the coast was clear.... Click, bang, outta here.  

It was a Friday, July 26 to be exact, and this day had been in the planning stage for over one month.  Any clients who called after now would just have to wait. This date he was headed to the coast.  The key ignited the Jeep Cherokee and off he was to ventures unknown aboard Glory Days.  Steadily, he drove.  Destination, 

Amelia Island, and then sail south to St. Augustine.

Ok, so much for the drama... My buddy Dixon arrived around 6 pm that Friday night at the Fernandina Harbor Marina for what was to be a week of sailing between two best friends aboard Glory Days.

A fine dinner that night, and the next day we would prepare for departure.  We had to make a short and fast trip to Jacksonville Saturday morning to pick up a part for the propane stove.  But after that, it was all preparation to depart.  A trip to the grocery store for provisions was in order.  As seen in the photo below, Dixon had some hard choices to make.

Big Decisions....
By 2 pm, we were packed and ready to leave.  Due to a south wind of only 5 knots, we opted to motor along the inside of the Intracoastal Waterway. Maybe tomorrow, we would sail on the outside of Amelia Island to our destination of St. Augustine.  A south wind is not really what we want, since we are headed due south.  We hoped for a northeasterly but it never happened.
Underway!  Onward to Fort George!

Lots of bridges along the way... 65' height clearance on most all of them.

The magic of the marsh.  Typical site along the ICW

We got pounded with rain at one point, and it lasted about an hour... but loved every minute of it. 
Fishermen are everywhere I have found.  and that's a good thing. 
This is the route we took on the ICW.  
59 Statute miles to St. Augustine. 

We found the Fort George anchorage to be a very noisy and crowed section of the ICW.  Little did we know we were so close to  Jacksonville, which explains the crowds of speedboats who seemed to care less about a sailboat. 

We anchored at the marked channel just off the ICW at Fort George.  A very strange thing happened very late that night.... we were awakened by an very unusual site and sound.  It was almost like we were witnessing a UFO... suddenly, yet very slowly we noticed a series of bright lights hovering near the marsh line and headed our way... slowly approaching us.  
What the heck could this be?  It was bright.  It was loud.  And it was approaching us even closer now.  When the unidentified vessel got near us, we were able to figure out its identify by using the binoculars.

This is what they do... See Flounder fish caught here.
Evidently, this was a night boat fishing, or should I say gigging, for flounder, a fish that lives on the bottom in shallow areas. 

 Afterwards, I googled the image below and discovered this odd contraption of a boat, specially designed for directing huge bright lights onto the water, so that the men aboard could spear flounder fish with their long gigs on a pole... remarkable I thought, tho I was a bit spooked at first sight.  Evidently, they have a gas powered generator on board to power the bright lights, which explains the noise we heard... what a way to fish... check out the photo!

Night fishing rig for gigging flounder. 
6 A.M. Coffee time...
The following morning was Sunday.  I rose before dawn and fired the Yanmar diesel up.  Dixon hailed the anchor aboard.  There was a long day ahead and the sooner we get started the better.  Here's a photo of Dixon at the helm.  Coffee time, as we approached the St. John's River and Jacksonville. Since the wind was basically nil, and still coming out of the south, we opted to continue motoring along the Icw.  It's all good.
A 10 mile stretch on the cut... I forget the name of this cut ... cool homes on the left.  Wild marsh swamp on the right. 

The rest of the trip south was pretty relaxing and the scenery only improved along the way.  Bird life was abundant, as were several bridges we cleared.  This pic is a bridge we had to have raised for us.  

Finally, St. Augustine!  We arrived around 3 pm on Sunday into what would be a gorgeous day in a gorgeous section of water.  Lots of power boats sputtered about as we made our way to the mooring ball at the City Marina.
Little did we know our plans would soon change.  
Segways near the Bridge of Lions in St. Augustine

The famous Bridge of Lions, St. Augustine, Fla

The View of St. Augustine from the mooring ball. 

Bridge of Lions at night... slow exposure.

The old Spanish Fort is still a bastion for touists.

So long St. Augustine.  
Due to a sudden health emergency back home, I had to quickly leave Glory Days at the River's Edge Marina the following day. The next day would involve a boat ride to the marina, a taxi ride to the airport, a jet ride to Atlanta, a train ride to the hospital, and a half mile walk to room 420 of Northside Hospital.  Thankfully Amy is fine now... more later...  God is good.

Stay tuned for the return to St. Augustine to retrieve Glory Days and push her to the limit!!

August 2, 2013

Another Dose of Cumberland

The cabin of a small yacht is truly a wonderful thing;
not only will it shelter you from the tempest,
but in the other troubles of life
which may be even more disturbing,
it is a safe retreat.
 L. Francis Herreschoff

Post # 26
midnight full moon at the bait shack
Before setting sail from Fernandina Harbor, we witnessed an usual amount of aquatic wildlife activity in the marina... right next to the hull of Glory Days, appeared 2 otters frolicking about... so playful they were... but as soon as I dashed below to fetch my camera, they were gone... camera shy I suppose... later that day a sea turtle was poking around at will, slow and deliberately... surfacing here and there.

Finally, just as we were sitting in the cockpit of Glory Days, a sluggish manatee surfaced and then was quickly down again... as it to say, "safe sailing my friends... then there's always the steady parade of sea birds, gulls, cranes, pelicans, egrets and spoonbills.

It was a perfectly full moon the night before we set sail... some call it a "super moon" but I'm not really sure it got that nam ... here she is (supermoon) in the background of the bait shack as seen in the photo above.

I never get tired of visiting Cumberland Island.  It is indeed a magical destination that offers so much mystical wonder I can never fully describe with mere words or photos.

So off we went.  After returning from the Mayo clinic in Jacksonville, and setting sail, Amy and I arrived at Cumberland Island on the afternoon of Tuesday, July 23, 2013.  We started out just doing a little day sailing under the genoa.  But since there was little or no wind, we decided to drop the sails and try our hand at bottom fishing in the main channel which is pretty much smack dab on top of the Georgia/Florida line as the St. Mary's River enters the sea... it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Little white trout caught by that little Green girl

Again my ever growing coastal acumen would test me and teach me yet another lesson about tides and currents.

It was like "hey, why don't we just drift fish here and see what we get!"... and drift we did... again, I underestimated the strength of the outgoing tide, and before long we had drifted about a half mile past Fort Clinch headed to the open sea... so far so problem, but wait, I think we should head back into the bay now... duh... have you ever tried to motor against an outgoing tide in a narrow inlet of coastal Georgia with the wind in your face?  It ain't easy.  Suddenly, we found ourselves motoring against a current so strong that we could barely make 1 knot of speed although our engine was nearly full throttle.... at least I stopped the drifting before we were really far out there.... 

To compensate and make mends for my lapse in judgement we made a wise choice to just drop the anchor about 100 meters off the far southern tip of Cumberland beach and wait it out... The anchor would hold us in the current and there was only about 90 minutes left in the ebb tide before she would be neutral again.  We might as well park our arse here and go ashore to the beach... then we can enjoy the fishing while waiting for the tidal rush to do her thing.

 which is what we did... my of my, what a good decision that was... maybe I'm learning something after all.  Here we are at anchor after dinghying to the shore in Dazy. I'm doing my tough guy stance.

Big man on a mission
These pics show the vast beauty of Cumberland Island beaches... these are the widest beaches I've ever had the pleasure to stroll... ripples, sand divits, pristine pools and an abundance of sea shell varieties made it one usually exciting point of interest... Seeing it at this very low tide, as seen below,  made the details even more vivid.
That little dot in the center is Amy.

We  counted 32 horseshoe crabs beached during our walk.... there must be thousands of them I figure.
Anchored just outside the main channel for Cumberland Sound/St. Mary's River

He gave his body up for science.
After exploring the beach, we returned to Glory Days, via Dazy the dinghy, Amy insisted on trying her hand one more time at fishing... Luckily, she caught this little white trout which we decided to use for bait to attract something even bigger... sorry his body is missing in this photo, but you get the idea I hope.

Amy, the shark slayer.

Sure enough, within 10 minutes something of notable size had seized her bait and bent her rod over... she dashed to the rod holder and before long had reeled in a 3 foot shark... Sharks are so plentiful in these, and most all florida waters, that catching them is fairly routine if you use a nice big piece of cut bait like the fresh flesh of a small trout... 

We considered eating his ass for dinner, but decided to release him instead and make our way to our anchorage, another 2 miles around the bend.... but at least she got the thrill of catching this guy... fishing is so cool, and I'm proud to say my little girls is one of the best when it comes to diligence, perseverance, and pure dedication to the sport.... way to go Amy!
No worries, we released him.. or was it a her?
Now back to Cumberland Sound for a nice sunset anchorage near the Sea Camp dock... Tomorrow, we would explore the island.  

There's always something magical about a Cumberland anchorage ... At this anchorage we observed these wild horses grazing along the shore. 

Below are some scenes from the following day, just hanging out at the beach and exploring the old ruins of Dungeness... During our hike inland, we encountered lots of wildlife to include, osprey, raccoons, deer, armadillo, wild turkey, and more wild horses.

Proof of Heaven

Dunes to cross after leaving the beach toward the ruins. 

Awesome the way 3 different ecosystems converge here.

Turkeys didn't seem too spooked as we passed them by.  We were getting tired at this point... Sometimes I can bite off a bit too much "playing too hard"... Luckily, we stumbled upon a well where we refilled our water bottles for the 2 mile hike back

Yes, we overdid it, and were pooped out as we finally motored Dazy back to the boat under the veil of a wonderful setting sun... Dinner didn't happen until 10 p.m.  I would soon rise at 5:30 a.m. to ride the outgoing tide back to Fernandina.  We had a big day ahead as Amy had to drive back to Atlanta... and as long as we were leaving so early, we decided to make the 8 a.m. yoga class in Fernandina... our 2nd class of the week!  Not bad for a couple of sleepyheads like us. 

Cotton Candy sky 6 a.m.  The sea was smooth as glass.  We made it back to the marina in 1 hour and 15 minutes.

So Long Cumberland, till we meet again.

Job well done, matie