January 18, 2015

On The Cusp of A Dream

Boats are like women... they need to be kissed… softly and oftenly…. Boats needs to be sailed …. hard and frequently…. dock lines should see minimal use.

 Hans Gilbrook.

I welcome contrasts.

I welcome risks.
I welcome hope.
I welcome nature's force.

The stars are out in full force tonight… 
Its a January night in north florida… 2015

... you can hear the ocean waves crashing from across the dunes from my anchorage here at Fort Mantanzas … it is near perfect… I am basking in gratitude… 

This story began a month ago, but I am starting with today and working backwards in somewhat scattered fashion … sorry, so bear with me. 

I've never been much of a history buff, but today's tour of the Fort Mantanzas by the National Park Service opened my eyes to some of the wild things that went down in the history of these parts long before we were even a country… St. Augustine was settled way back in 1565 and they will celebrate their 450th anniversary this year.  Forts are symbols of wars, man's worst invention.   Wars just leave a lot of graves and monuments behind…

Here's the look out post for the bad guys...

Big guns for men to fight little wars that seem unnecessary.

Fort Mantanzas was really more of a watch tower with a few cannons than an actual large fort like in St. Augustine.  But she did a pretty good job of keeping General Oglethorpe from entering the Mantanzas inlet to St. Augustine… 

Plus, there's a lovely anchorage right in front of the Fort Mantanzas…. see below…

I opted for a short day of 3 hours sailing down the Intracoastal Waterway after departing St. Augustine at 10:30 a.m…. I made one last stop at the marina and topped off my fuel, water, and emptied ye old holding tank…

Heres the video view of this anchorage…

And so I'm on my way now… Gosh, I am so blessed…. give give give give and be grateful, and great things will happen… they always do.

This time I plan to creep down the east coast of Florida… again … but I have the Florida Keys in my sights instead of the Bahamas this season… there's no rush so enjoy the journey and take time to smell the sea shells along the way…. so much has happened in the past couple months, I don't know where to begin…

December flew by, and I managed to get in some great sailing in the St. Johns' River while staying at Ortega Landing Marina in Jacksonville between trips back home to ATL…

I'm giddy about this whole Season 2 sailing thing… i can hardly speak, but here goes… enjoy… thanks for visiting… 

oh the joys of cruising seem to never end… 

"Lets go, let's go, let's go" she kept saying… and I complied.

Pelicans can be so precise…
They make me want to dance...
And give thanks … let it rain fiery lovedrops
Hello, I'll be your captain today… any questions?
Glory Days was on her best behavior before departure…
(she knows better.)
Ortega River Bridge… one of two… Christmas is near.

 This is the Main Street Bridge in Jax… this whole sucker raises up in the air for sailboats to pass under!  
Do call ahead though.
Cmas lights on a sailboat draped in blue… 


Its always nice when friends come down 
to visit you on your boat… 
As a single handler, I welcome a visit from good friends that appreciate a good quiet day or two on the water…

Here's my favorite couple… Dixon is a sailor in his own right, and Tricia is learning the ropes… we enjoyed a couple days on the water… It was Tricia's first night sleeping aboard… She even brought her PJ's.

Coffee time...

The weather wasn't right for sailing this day, but we still enjoyed some dock time and the Riverside district whooping it up with friends Chris and Beth below.

My friends Pam and Teri enjoyed their first day sail with me aboard Glory Days in Dec 2014… we had some decent wind and fun, even tho I confess that I misread the chart and we ran aground into soft mud… it happens… 
but you work it out… 

Pam introduced me to Les here and we jammed on guitars in his downtown studio… sweet music karma in the works.
My old friend Bill here dropped by for lunch… long time no see.  We go way back to college days at UGA in the 70's
More Canadian friends that we met for sundowners.…
Helle and Paul aboard their Tartan 37

Then my new friend, Sherry and I had a great time exploring Jacksonville and it's waters … she really took a liking to this sailing thang and was a real natural at it from the get go … 

She's quite the artist, and if you need her to design a custom flag for your vessel, like she did for me here, it can be done.  I'm real big on flags.

I Love this shot of pilings at the city docks with the bridge peeking through the fog in the background…. Jax in Jan.

It's just a nice waterfront in Jax

GETTING READY:  It may look like chaos, but its all part of getting organized… believe it or not, it actually all fit back into the lazarette in an organized and findable fashion.
Ok, I am ready.

We are ready.

Something happened here… you got it. 
The wild blue yonder is awaiting… but it could be red.
Another fiery sky in Jacksonville… 
soon to be left behind as I head south.
It was not a good time for my running lights to short out when this thick fog set in… 
But still a Lovely fog it was as viewed across the 
St. Johns River in Jax … 
repaired the running lights  thankfully.
Finally underway on a wet cloudy gorgeous day...
Mutt and Jeff just hanging out on a buoy

Sherry meeting a cargo barge in the Jacksonville shipping lanes...
I was pleasantly taken aback when this ship hailed me by name on the radio to discuss our passing… I dutifully obeyed and we passed port to port

Even after 2 years I still have to refer to the manual for the chart plotter to get it right… I'm not real smart.

Baby gulls on Amelia Island are so tender...
Dogs play on Amelia Island… 
If dogs run free, why can't we?… thanks Bob.
One of my favorite piers….
Fort Clinch State Park… Amelia Island
We live in a magical world
Where all things are possible… 
After all, isn't "impossible" the same spelling as I'm possible?
The first leg of the journey south began in another thick fog… and you know it's only a matter of time before the sun will shine again.
The Bridge of Lions always captivates me… 
entering St. Aug. January 13.
Another couple of nights in the mooring field at St. Augustine…. its worth the stop if you've never been there… but I've been here a few times and I gotta move on now...

Boys fish… Men fish…. boys play… Men play…
 Boys want to be men… 
Men want to be boys...
Hey Dune!  What's up man?
Fly birdies as I watch my god in action… she lives.

I miss this calm as I'm getting pounded with 22 knot gusts at anchorage this Sunday morning...
The marsh is so rich in life below and above water.
There is never nothing going on here.

Peace…. post Meditation grins in the marsh at dusk 
Pine Island anchorage along the ICW.
This is the best damn boat in the world.
My installation for the new Raymarine autopilot thankfully went without a glitch… 
thanks David for your help!!!

When it comes to my command station I guess I get a little anal … I'm a gadget nerd and I can't believe it's all working!  It's nice having full internet while cruising down the ICW...

Yes, I'm a gear geek, and photography is my passion… 
I upgraded my photographic arsenal during the off season… each has a different purpose, and like a GPS, you always want a back up to the back up to the back up.
After a pleasant 45 mile day, I dropped anchor here at Ormand Beach at 5 pm where I post this blog today

I couldn't afford $700 for custom zip in windows for my cockpit enclosure… But these clear shower curtains from Lowes work great when the night time chill or rain comes blowing in… only $5 each!  Redneck sailing!

… I'm glad to own a boat that has her own wine 
named after her…
Thanks Karen for sending the Glory Days wine!

Ok, I can do this.

Closing thoughts….
Some things you just have to do.  
And Some things you just have to do NOW instead of waiting for the perfect time.

It's sort of like the young couple who kept waiting for the perfect time to have a child... "surely next year, we'll be in a better financial condition to be parents..." and so the next year passes as does the next, and the next... and on and on…suddenly they are 50 years old with no children because they did not have time.

Casting off the dock lines is sort of like standing on the cusp of the unknown... like the young couple who could have been parents, one could remain at the dock forever because there will always be this to do and that to prepare… boat projects never end, so you can't spend time waiting anymore for the perfect opportunity to depart… Eventually you have to cast off the dock lines and surge ahead confident and fearless.

Over my 60 years I have learned that things will take care of themselves once I replace the hesitation to fly with the determination to soar... Faith in my inner God goes a long way in comforting myself that it will all work out because most all the things I tend to worry about never even happen.

It's not as profound as it may sound.  You just do it, and without really giving much thought. 

There will always be one more little boat job to complete, one more item to purchase, one more last goodbye, one more this, one more that... and there eventually comes a point when you say enough already...  that it doesnt matter, so stand back everybody, I'm having this baby now!

I entered the New Year 2015 in what I thought was a little "behind schedule" because my boat did not set sail on January 1 as I had planned… plans, shplans…. How foolish that sounds now, because time is all we have…and it's running out every day…. Over the years I've learned that love, health, and time are the three things you cannot buy no matter how much wealth you might have.  So I consider myself extremely blessed... I have all three. 

This notion reminds me of a song I wrote 32 years ago still holds true today:

To You

Things they may come to you

but only when you make it happen.
You show your face, you set your bait
You classify all of your intentions.
The remainder is diplomacy.

If you appear to have faith in my judgement,

I can do anything.
If  you stand over with doubting eyes,
I will bungle it all.
If you continue to doubt my strengths
I will continue to fulfill those doubts.

But cut me some slack tonight

and I promise I will amaze you.

It takes a lot of planning to get away on a sailboat… There's always a long list of details because you want to do it right and you want to be prepared for anything that might arise on the cusp of the unknown… anything could happen.

When I call home, my family members don't give me much sympathy when I state how busy my day was and how I barely had enough time today to even eat lunch… they just think I'm lolling about on a sailboat sipping fancy drinks with little umbrellas in them… but Here's a PARTIAL checklist for pre-departure January 12, 2015.. it never really ends.

* Change oil and all filters on Yanmar - check

* Check all hoses and clamps on engine - check
* Install new auto pilot - check
* Rewire new auto pilot - check
* Rewire auto pilot after 4 calls to tech support - check
* Get cocktail sauce - check
* Get 2 bow anchors ready and connect seizing wire to shackles - check
* Put 3rd anchor on stern for emergency deployment - check
* Inflate Dazy the dinghy and check for leaks - check
* Set up Dazy with small anchor, bilge pump, whistle -check
* Replace impeller on Mercury outboard engine - check
* Stock liquor cabinet - check - rum -check
* Check all 4 batteries for water level and corrosion -check
* Peel shrimp - check
* Check ditch bag for necessary items - check
* Fill up tank with 20 gallons of diesel - check
* Fill up spare gerry cans with 10 gallons diesel - check
* Fill up gerry cans with extra 14 gallons of water - check
* Install foam insulation in refrigerator - later
* Send in payment with Ga. boat registration - check
* Completely organize lazarette locker - check
* Mix two cycle gas solution for outboard motor - check
* Install new propane tank after getting it filled - check
* Adjust and tighten all lifelines - check
* Scrub out all bilge areas - check
* Install new cover for Lifesling - check
* Install and mount new aluminum can crusher - check
* Replace stainless steel bracket on bimini top - check
* Get fire hose chafe guards for bow anchor lines - check
* Figure out how to mount folding bicycle to side rail- check
* Get new runner rug for main cabin floor - check
* Get extra fuses for all electronics - check
* Polish stanchions - this can wait.
* Repair the short in the running lights asap… check
* Install netting over bookshelf so they don't fall out when heeled over - check
* Mount new oil lantern on bulkhead - check
* Resume normal activities - check check check!

This photo above has absolutely nothing to do with sailing or this blog …but this is my lovely daughter, Amy, with her brand new lab pup, Lotus… I just wanted to plug them in here… Amy is actually 25, but for some reason she looks about 10 here!  just saying…. love does wondrous things if you believe… nice art work Amy.

So long for now… I hope to post more frequent and shorter blogs this season … but, hey! thanks for dropping by… Fair winds to all.

Glory Days is now making her way south to Ft. Lauderdale where she'll hang for a while before moving on south to the Florida Keys for whatever adventures may unfold… 

I am posting this entry from a blustery anchorage on Sunday morning, January 18… Unfortunately, I'm a bit exposed to this north wind gusting to 28 knots… Still got a long way to go … I go slow.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting blog again. Please keep good notes for me as in the Spring I want to follow that same route north. I have just started on my list of chores for Adventure Quest, hoping that it will not take long, but I also know the reality. Everything will take twice as long as you expect. Anyway I might cross paths with Glory Days somewhere. Wish you great sailing.