Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Coconut Grove / Dinner Key / Key Biscyne

Abort! Abort! Abort! 12/30/2008

Well the best laid mice and all that stuff....

We woke at 4:00 AM to the roll of a 10 knot North wind. What don't you want to cross the Gulf Stream....? Answer, any wind out of the North. The stream flows North and with almost any wind out of the North it produces a very ugly wave pattern that is just not conformable.

We elected to sit tight. We will try again tonight. Hopefully, the next post will be from Nassau.

Again, you can follow our progress with the link to Yotreps on the blog. I will attempt to post a new location at 12 noon and 12 midnight.

Fariwinds and Rum Drinks,

Vic & Gigi

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Monday, December 29, 2008

Here We Go 12/30/2008

Dear Friend & Followers,

Well we finally have a "window" for crossing to the Bahamas. G and I went out Florida Channel and left GPS "bread crumbs" to follow out tomorrow morning. Our plan is to leave here at between 4 & 5 Tuesday morning, cross the gulf stream and go directly to Nassau - a distance of about 167 nm. Leaving at 4 should put us in Nassau at approximately 12 noon on Wednesday.

I'll try and post a location on Yotrips at mid-night during the crossing and when we arrive.

Fariwinds & Rum Drinks,

Vic & Gigi

PS - Yea, I know I have not written lately. With a little luck and initiative maybe I'll do better...but I could do worse. Time will tell.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Palm Coast Thanksgiving

A Palm Coast Thanksgiving: 11/26/08 to 12/2/08

We arrived in Palm Coast for Thanksgiving around noontime after an uneventful trip down the ICW from St. Augustine. Things seemed to be going OK and we were planning to get together with my cousin Tom and his wife Olga later in the afternoon, in the meantime we walked up to the European Village, a courtyard setting in the middle of a high dollar hotel, for some lunch. We had lunch outside at this delightful Italian restaurant, the weather had finally gotten warm enough to do this, and in addition to the warm weather we were serenaded with Christmas songs by Kevon Re’mon’te a local musician.

About 3PM my cousin Tom picked us up and took us to his house which was just a few blocks away where Victor met Tom’s wife Olga who is from Russia. As a matter of fact Tom & Olga are back in Russia at this time so that Olga can spend the holidays with her family and get her mother into a clinic for eye surgery. Around 5PM is when Victor felt sick and decided to lay down for a while, little did we know that this would be the beginning of a cold that would last for the better part of 2 weeks and that I would eventually get it even though I spent days and nights with Tom & Olga while Victor stayed on the boat.

Thanksgiving Day dawned bright and warm and we took Victor back to “The Island” so that he could sleep and read while the rest of us headed for Bill’s, my other cousin’s, house over in Auburndale, FL to celebrate Thanksgiving with him. Let me get away from the story a little and give you a little “family tree” so you can keep up with the story.
My cousin Tom is the son of my mother’s brother Tom and Bill is the son of my mother’s sister Clarissa. Bill is the oldest, early 70's, I am next at 63 and then comes Tom at 62 and we all grew up together in North Philadelphia.
You will be able to tell who Bill is in the pictures as he is the one in leather shorts and shoes from Germany and he is also the one kissing “the bird” Michael. Bill celebrates Thanksgiving in a big way as he gets out a lot of the Christmas items that he has bought on his many trips to Germany and other countries----this is the first year in a long time that Bill did not go to Munich for Oktoberfest. I will also point out that Bill did all the cooking and that he is a fantastic cook and there wasn’t much left–did manage to take a plate back to Victor. It was my hope that Victor would get a chance to meet Bill and also see some VHS tapes that Bill & I had copied from some very old 3-D slides and 8mm movie film that shows my family going back to the late 1940's–maybe next time. I took some pictures of Tom and Olga at Bill’s house and as you can see Olga is a very pretty lady and I am very proud of her as she is now in school to better her English and is doing quite well. The school she is in goes from 9 to 12 five days a week and runs from September to June and it is not that easy.

Friday was another beautiful day with the exception that Victor needed to go to the drug store to get a prescription filled and I needed to get a Flu shot. We took care of that and then took Victor back to the boat and I took Tom & Olga out to lunch in St. Augustine. Later Friday afternoon I went back to the boat to check on Victor, and spend some time with him. Friday night Tom and I spent some time reminiscing about our childhood and talking about our kids, Tom’s son & daughter are almost the same age as my son & daughter.

Saturday was one of those Florida winter days where you just want to walk and that is what I did from my cousins house to the boat to check in on the patient. He was doing better but was still not up to par so he decided to stay on the boat for another day and night. That afternoon Tom grilled out and after a great dinner we had a movie marathon or should I say Tom and I had a movie marathon while Olga “talked” with her friends in Russia via the internet. Tom had gotten Olga a keyboard in Russian which allowed her to communicate better with her friends as all her friends do not know our language.

Sunday was another beautiful day and Tom took Victor and I to the store to add to what was already on the boat and to get the fixings for Victor to cook Tom & Olga one of his wonderful suppers. After supper Tom took Victor and I back to the boat as we planned to leave Monday morning-notice the word “planned”.

Monday dawned windy and chilly and I now had the cold-“go figure”. Several boats came to the marina that day to get out of the cold and windy weather. Tom came by the boat Monday night to pick up a picture of my granddaughter and he also had the beginnings of “the cold”. We finally did leave Tuesday mid-morning as the tide had gone out so much due to the direction of the wind that several boats, “the Island”, included were sitting on the bottom so we had to wait for the incoming tide to get going.

Now, I do not want anyone to think that while Victor was on the boat taking care of his cold I was just “hanging out” with my cousin no that was not the case because at last count I think I did 4 or 5 loads of wash at Tom’s. For those of you who have not cruised doing wash means–you put all laundry into bags, haul it to wherever you are going to do the wash- wash the clothes-dry the clothes- fold the clothes and then haul everything back to the boat and put it away. Victor has warned me that in the islands there is a sport called “competitive laundry” and I for one am looking forward to this new competitive sport as I have not been able to work out in awhile.

I want to finish this story by saying that I had a wonderful time with Bill, Tom & Olga and I hope that when we pass this way again Victor will meet Bill and they can compare their cooking techniques, and that Tom, Bill, & Victor will have time to share a beer or two together.

Fair Winds & Rum Drinks,


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Palm Coast to Vero Beach

Palm Coast to Vero Beach, Florida:

12/2/2008: Palm Coast to Daytona Beach Anchorage - 29nm.

12/3/2008: Daytona Beach to Titusville, NASA Causeway Anchorage - 48nm.

12/4/2008: NASA Causeway to Palm Bay - 40nm.

12/5/2008: NASA Causeway to Vero Beach Mooring Field - 25nm.

Gigi’s Island reluctantly left Palm Coast Marina and headed south. Again it was COLD with wind off our stern quarter which made it even colder. We had planned to anchor off Daytona for the night but not spend any time there. The guide books advise locking your dink and everything that ain’t nailed down in the Daytona area so it we elected to give it a pass.

The next day was much warmer...and we had ourselves a convoy. There were at least 8 boats strung like elephants in a circus parade nose to tail, nose to tail. And all in front of us, which in my mind, was a very good thing since 15 miles ahead of was my least favorite spot in Florida - Ponce Inlet. Last year Oconee and I ran hard aground in Ponce. This year we had 8 other boat to show us where not to go. I like it when a plan comes together. As it turned out, it was a non-issue. The inlet had been dredged and it was clearly marked, for a much need change.

We anchored just south of Titusville and used the NASA Causeway to knock down the seas. The Island was in clear view of the entire NASA complex including the maintenance buildings and both shuttle launch pads. You could not of pick a better spot to observe a shuttle launch...if there had been one.

The next day was warm and we had ourselves the long awaited “shorts” weather. In this area of the Indian River the ICW runs beside “a sting of pearls” - small, palm studded, spoil islands strung from Titusville down to Vero Beach. Each island has it’s own designated use and each is unique. By 2:00 in the afternoon, we were sharing an anchorage with a beautiful, old, black hulled schooner behind one of these “jewels” with our traditional anchors down tody in hand.
We didn’t know it at the time, but we were anchored in the “Pelican Island Wildlife Persevere National Wildlife Center.”

We were just settling in for a pleasant evening when the “show” started. Flocks of pelicans, cormorant, turn, heron of various colors, and dolphin, dolphin, dolphin, descended upon the waters around us and the our island. Pelicans rained from the sky scooping up bills laden with fish. Turns filled the sky rolled and dove with bullet precision to skewer dinner. dolphin were everywhere churning the water into a froth. Dinner was served for all (‘cept us).

Just when the frenzy and show was winding down a dolphin mother and calf surfaced and knifed the water directly toward Gigi’s Island. Mother and calf stayed on the surface until they reached the boat and then glided smoothly under our stern quarter. G is convinced that the mother was showing her child a “boat.” I, personally, think neither she nor her little one had ever seen a boat with a “pink flamingo” on the side before and wanted a closer look just to be sure they weren’t seeing things.

The next day took us down what I call “millionaires ally” - house after house that, I’ve been told go for 20 million plus. What a waste.

By noon we were rafted to “Temptation” in the Vero Beach mooring field. Here the Islan has gone 1029 miles to raft to Karen and Earl Quick that we could have stayed home and rafted with almost any time we desired. But that is part of the joy of cruising - short intense reunions with old friends followed by the making of new ones only to move on and away from each other the following day. We hope to see you in the Bahamas Earl. G really enjoyed meeting and doing “girl” stuff with Karen. Soon old friend. Soon.

Fairwinds and Rum Drinks,

Vic & Gigi

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Monday, December 1, 2008

Jekyll Island to Palm Coast, FL

Jekyll Island, GA to Palm Coast, FL:

11/20/2008: Jekyll Island to Fernandina Municipal Marina, FL - 27nm.

11/23/2008: Fernandina to Pine Island Anchorage - 43nm.

11/24/2008: Pine Island to St. Augustine Anchorage - 13nm.

11/26/2008: St. Augustine to Palm Coast Marina - 21nm.

My good friend, John Skemp, has a saying, “Even a blind hog can find an acorn every now and then.” But then adds with a chuckle, “ Whatever that means?”

Gigi’s Island sprung herself off the dock at Jekyll Island and spun ass-end first out into the last of the ebbing tide. We were south bound again, and (for once) with the current was with us - 7 plus knots at 2200 rpms. We rode the last of the outgoing tide all the way to the buoy at the mouth of Jekyll Sound marking the channel between Jekyll and Cumberland Islands. And then, just as the we rounded the buoy the miracle happened, the tide switched and we had current with us again. And the Island rode the rising tide all the way to St. Marys, Georgia, only 7 miles from our destination, Fernandina, Florida. We had put another state behind us and the Island had found her very own “acorn.”

I used to say that Fernandina / Amelia Island, “thought themselves part of Georgia.” The truth is they don’t thing they are part of Florida or Georgia but “an Island apart.” It is the only place in the country that has lived under 8 different flags. The French were first. Hell, the Spanish governed them 3 times. The army of a Mexican revolutionary for a short period. The good old US of A (of course). The Confederate States of America. And some guy from Texas that established himself as an independent state when no one was in charge. It’s no wonder they are a bit different.

And it’s a good difference. The city is friendly, and full of old Victorian and Queen Ann style homes. There are two things that should not be missed (other than the Palace Saloon) if you visit here. First, the Farmer’s Market, held every Saturday. It is as eclectic as the city, with home cooked bread, wonderful local roasted coffee, local spices, BBQ, every manner of fresh vegetables and fruit, and flowers, flowers, flowers. It is an event not to be missed. Second, is the Fernandina Museum. In addition to fact it is a great museum they give a guided tour and lecture on the history of the area at 11:00 and 2:00 every day. To say G and I liked Fernandina would be an understatement.

I’ll leave the Fernandia area with a story. The Island was tied to the inside of the transient dock at Fernandina Municipal Marina (again we wanted HEAT!). I was quietly having my morning coffee when this “hallucination” jogged by. The lady off “Heron” was out for her morning exercise. That is she and her cat on a leash were out for a morning jog. First a cat on a leash, well that’s total indignity for any self-respecting cat and to go jogging at someone else’s bidding? Now I think I’ve seen everything - I’m undone. Must be time to leave cold or no cold.

We made our way down the waterway, with a stop over at Pine Island anchorage, to St. Augustine. I’m not really a St. Augustine fan. It is a beautiful old city, filled with expensive art galleries, and some of the junkiest, junk shops G and I have ever seen. The best thing here is the A1A Brewery that still makes some of the best brown ale I’ve every put in my mouth. We spent a couple of days at anchor in St. Augustine and then moved on to Palm Coast Marina just in time to spend Thanksgiving with Genevra’s cousins Bill and Tom and Tom’s wife Olge. G will be posting a separate blog entry on our Palm Coast stay in a few days.

We hope you all had a great Thanksgiving, complete with lots of turkey, cranberry sauce, but mostly friends, family and large servings of love.

Fairwinds & Rum Drinks,

Vic & Gigi

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