October 3, 2015

Coming Home - Conclusion

 “live in the sunshine and drink the wild air..."                                               Ralph Waldo Emerson 

As July comes to an end I find myself reflecting on my new home for Glory Days here at St. Simons Island, Georgia. 
 It's not a bad place to stay put for a while as I regroup and plan the next venture ... This stop represents a period of closure for this season, and a feeling of completion... It marks the end of this feeling of "Coming Home."

I also find myself pondering this halfway mark of the year 2015, a full moon as tonights alignment of Venus and Jupiter is in the western sky. and the end of another great year of cruising.... Plans are to tie her up to the confines of a marina dock for a while and bed her down here for a couple months .... but my restless spirit continues to flirt with a fall sailing trip up to Charleston and on to the east coast...

It's been quite a while since my last post for Glory Days, so please allow me to look back and see just how she got me here.

Home is where your heart is.
Home is where your family is.
Home is where your boat is.
Home is wherever you choose it to be.

With the return to life on land, I am concerned as to how one will sustain the same level of exhilaration encountered in the daily life of cruising.  It's all part of the daily package that I never take for granted but know I will miss.... simple things like two gulls eyeing me as they glide over my sunhat, daily uncluttered sunsets, and my daily dose of dolphins cavorting at dawn.

  Then there's the soft kissing sound of a changing tide slurping against the hull of my boat, and the silent soar of an osprey keeping tabs over my watchful presence.

So here's a little play by play of how it all went down as I departed Miami where I was joined by Sherry Cook for the next 7 days...

Day 4 since leaving the Keys - June 15

We departed Coconut Grove at 9 am and soon entered downtown Miami within an hour.

I never get tired of the Miami skyline.. after departing Dinner Key at Coconut Grove, we were soon surrounded by skyscrapers and mega-yachts as we made our way up the Intracoastal Waterway.
big... but does not impress me.
And away we go...
Up until now, I've always been the one on the shore taking photos of sailboats passing my way... but now the roles have reversed and I find myself the object of photographers like this gal in a condo high rise.
Only in Miami.... a car that doubles as a boat... he drove right up the boat ramp and continued into the city.

We motored 24 miles up the ICW to our target anchorage at Haulover State Park... Here, we were curious to explore the 
"clothing optional"  beach that we had read about in the travel guide...
I've run naked on many a beach, but this was my first time at a public nude beach, so we made sure to read up on the etiquette for the occasion... the travel guide gave good tips like no gawking at your neighbors, no sex, no cameras, and to just relax and enjoy the freedom of the moment without feeling like you need to engage with anyone at all.... 

sure enough, once we passed the sign at the gate we immediately encountered nude dudes jogging on the beach, couples wading in the surf, and average looking folks just sitting under umbrellas reading books in the buff.  

No one paid us any mind and so we joined the ranks of the dangling and free for a couple hours on a lovely afternoon before heading back to the boat to continue north. It wasn't anything vulgar, just a peaceful easy feeling with the wind dancing upon your skin...
An Osprey with her young we passed along the way.

Our goal on this day was to reach Fort Lauderdale but delays at multiple draw bridges would cut our goal short.
There's lots of draw bridges in this area of the ICW and many of them only open on the half hour... So it can become a challenge to time your arrivals if you want to continue on a steady pace.
An endless row of nice homes lines the ICW.  Many seem deserted to me. I guess they are in Europe for the summer.

Due to the bridge delays we had to settle for Hollywood anchorage, just a few miles short of Fort Lauderdale ...But it turned out to be a good thing... I've always passed through Hollywood without stopping, but now I found it to be a nice little stop with several eateries all along the waterfront...

 We had a great sunset dinner at Le Tub Saloon right on the water.   The anchorages are limited and shallow here, but well worth the stop. 

As the sun was setting on Sherry, it was here that my trip log (odometer) passed the 2500 mile mark.

Day 5 - June 16, 2015
Fort Lauderdale to Lake Worth - This would be a big travel day. I chose to sail her in the Atlantic to avoid all the many draw bridges we would encounter. 

We left the ICW through Port Everglades and sailed on the outside for 60 miles north before entering Lake Worth inlet at 1900 hours... I had read stories about congestion and loud rowdy boaters here, but all we found was a nice quiet anchorage on a Saturday night.

ships passing...

 We steered our course about 2 miles off shore and were able to follow the beaches and homes from the Atlantic.
Occasionally you meet a boat or two out there..."dude, pull your fenders in!"
With the wind out of the NE, we found ourselves "close hauled" most of the day before our final westward tack into the inlet... it can be tiring going into the wind like that all day.
Ahhhhhh..... arrived.... Lake Worth is somewhat of an industrial port with lots of cargo ships and cruise ships coming and going... The ritzy city of West Palm Beach is just a couple more miles up the waterway.

At our Lake Worth anchorage, a neighboring sailboat hailed me on the radio.  He was leaving for the Bahamas before the crack of dawn and wanted to know if we wanted to buddy boat with them for the passage... as tempting as it was, another trip to the Bahamas was just not on my radar at the moment... His vessel was long gone when I rose at 6 a.m. the following morn.

Day 6 - June 17
We departed Lake Worth at 0630 hours for a second day of sailing in the Atlantic... Today we would make 57 miles with a real sleigh ride as we entered the Fort Pierce inlet.

Lake Worth to Fort Pierce, 57 miles
anchored in front of public beach...
anchor got tangled up in the keel...
site "washing machine" coming into the inlet. arrived 6 pm

We got away early the following morning and dodged rain storms most of the day...

Later that day we arrived at one of my favorite birding spots... it's called Haulover Canal, and it's just a little blip in the road on the way north toward Daytona and St. Augustine... 

We dropped the anchor in a very narrow section of the ICW channel here and took a couple hours off just to look at tons and tons of different birds that seem to inhabit this teen little island here at the entrance to Haulover Canal before entering Mosquito Lagoon... here and Anhinga drys her wings in the sun.
The area is loaded with the Roseate Spoonbills, a remarkable pink bird with a rather prehistoric looking beak.... they were making all sorts of racket while doing various mating dances

 We finally pulled ourselves away from the bird rookery and continued on north

 Typical scenes along the ICW

We soon found our way to the town of New Smyrna Beach... We entered under a heavy rain and were thrilled to find a free public dock where could tie up for the night and walk into the downtown district.

Good old Sherry... It's pouring rain, but she's taking the time to flemish the dock lines even tho we are only here for a night... this girl has chutzpa. 

 Sherry made her exit at Daytona where she boarded a plane back to Atlanta...She was more than a great first mate, but had duties calling elsewhere.... we will resume sailing down the road I am sure...

this was another remote anchorage I found near Flagler Beach where I escaped another storm that was approaching from the north... a nice respite.

 i continued on the following day and soon passed right through St. Augustine (above) This was the first time I'd passed thru here without stopping...

I had a banner record day of travel on this day as I made a record 82 miles from sun up to sundown... occasionally all the perfect winds, tides, and good luck align themselves for a great day of travel... With the wind on my beam and the incoming tide I entered Jacksonville at 8.2 knots!  I think that's a record speed for Glory Days.
It's an urban port Jacksonville.... watch out for the  big guys here.
Before long, I soon found myself back into the beloved marsh districts so common to North Florida and Ga.... so magical and real and rich with life.

 here's a couple pics of when I buddy boated with my sailor friend, Steve, aboard his catamaran, Southern Cross.  We met up in Fernandina and made the trip north on to St. Simons.  In the pic below he is taking a on board rinse to cool off...

After departing Fernandina, it was appropriate that my my final anchorage for the sailing season was at one of my favorite haunts, Cumberland Island. Steve elected to spend another night in Fernandins Beach while I anchored at Cumberland before joining him the following day for the final leg north to St. Simons

Gazing out at the island, I hear a symphony of sounds from birds, insects, wind, waves, and the smallest grains of sand ticking away like a clock as they dance along the beach ... 

for a trip that began in January, a mid June conclusion is a good long run... it's not the end, just the beginning of a little storage period for Glory Days.  Still, it's hard to stop and the desire to continue this fruitful lifestyle lingers on ... more safe sails today girl.  Thank you for taking me safe thus far.

Some random passage notes below...
Day 7 - June 18
Fort Pierce to Vero Beach... 

Day 8 - depart Vero - stopped in Cocoa for 2 hours

Day 9 .... dodged 2  big storms and then anchored on lee side of Addison Point bridg.e

Day 10 ... arrive at New Smyrna... after wonderful day of birding at Haulover canal, dolphins, manatees, spoonbills, and tie up to the free dock at New Smyrna after 2 hours in the rain.
 More scenes from Cumberland Island, GA

 A U.S. Naval base for submarines is located at Kings Bay near the St. Mary's river.... This was the second occasion in two years I had encountered a sub being escorted out to sea...  these guys are HUGE... and quite a site to see

 Ahhhh!  Finally entered my new home port at St. Andrews Sound.... that's the lighthouse of St. Simon's Island greeting me in to the marina area.

And the 14 day journey ends here at the dock at St. Simons Island...  I was greeted by my dock mates Malcolm and Chip who live in the marina.... 

It had been 14 days since leaving Marathon, Florida.... Seven days I cruised with Sherry and 7 on my own...

It's a bit sad to tie her to a dock for a while but I'll be back... I will be back.  Thank you God for safe passage again...

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