Even though the weather did not let us get to sail outside outside in the open ocean on the way south from the Chesapeake we did have a fun and at times eventful trip south to Florida. At Myrtle Beach we caught up with our good friends Butch and Susan on Dream Catcher and traveled south together until we got to St Augustine. We dodged the shallow waters, timed the tide, relaxed at anchor and enjoyed the sunsets with them as we slowly worked our way down the east coast.
The one big difference going south in the fall vs going north in the spring is the days are much shorter. We had a couple of hours of daylight less each day which made the daily travel distance shorter. Currently we are at Harbortown Marina in Ft Pierce, Florida where we spent some time with old and new friends, got a few projects done and provisioned up to go to the Bahamas. After 2 trips to Wal Mart, 2 trips to the Publix grocery store, a trip to West Marine store and a trip to Ace Hardware our wallet is waaay lighter but we think we have enough food, paper goods, wine, beer and snacks to last us 3 months. Every time I did the math in my head as we filled up another carriage at Wal Mart I kept reminding myself that each time we went into one of the little stores on the islands in the Bahamas we walked out with 4 items and at least $100 poorer. The more you can bring with you the better and one of the benefits of Pearl is that she is a heavy boat that can take on extra weight without really noticing it.
The plan is to leave the middle of this week and head to Miami to stage for a good weather day to cross over to the Bahamas. The northerly cold fronts have been relentless and the safe crossing opportunities have been few and far between so we will be patient and wait there for the right time. For now that seems like it will not be until next week sometime. We hear our friend that are doing the Great Loop on Joint Adventure may be in the Miami area the same time as us. We hope we can meet up if the timing is right.
Where have we been that we remember most along the way? In Myrtle Beach our friends lent us their golf cart to cruise around in while we waited for them to return from a quick trip home to Virginia. We felt a bit silly like a scene out of "Dumb and Dumber" driving down real roads with the cars whizzing by.
One of our favorite stops was Beaufort, S.C. The scenery is amazing and the town is quite a mixture of different periods of architecture. Check out the tree limb in front of this house.
While we were in the mooring field at Beaufort we experienced one of the best sunsets to date looking at Pearl from the cockpit of our buddy boat Dream Catcher.
Speaking of sunsets we had a very unusual experience twice at anchor where the sun reflecting off the windows of the houses made them look like they we engulfed in flames inside. The first time we saw this I asked Gayleen if we should call 911!
Still without any need for a television, sunrises, sunsets, day moons and night moons continue to entertain us.
Nights can be spent at free docks
or at anchor in random locations some scenic and some not so scenic
Just before you enter Florida there is an island named Cumberland Island. Until it became a National Park it was home to the rich and elite including the Carnegie family. The ruins of their Dungeness Mansion can be explored amongst wild turkeys and horses in a very unique untouched tropical environment
Pearl and Dream Catcher anchored of Cumberland Island while we spent the day exploring
The next stop is one of our favorites and turned out to be a long stop. Our friends on Dream Catcher offered to watch Pearl at St Augustine, Florida and take care of our kitty crew for a week while we traveled to Boulder Colorado to see Trevor and Speed, then to the Colorado mountains to visit with Brandon and finally on to San Diego to spend Thanksgiving with Evan and Ashley. It was a whirl wind tour but it went exceptionally well. We still like traveling by boat though.
A visit to St Augustine wouldn't be complete without the $12 lobster dinner at the local American Legion. Our good friend Ann from Krazy Lady drove down from Jacksonville to join us for the fun!
Then thawed out at the beaches of San Diego
I wasn't just carrying that skateboard for show. I think I still have it in me (even though it was for about one second for this photo)
All this fun was followed by Christmas in Titusville, Florida with new cruiser friends
Titusville was unique in that the marina basin was filled with Manatees. As soon as some fresh water drips off a boat or dock they are there to drink it.
Here in Ft Pierce, Gayleen kayaks up the creek to play with the Manatees while I get some projects done. This is the dam thats up the creek
So......hopefully we are off the dock in two days and the clear blue waters of the Bahamas aren't too far away.