After leaving Beaufort we went to Hilton Head and had a wonderful dinner with Sue and Kevin Keogh where there was lots of talk about Harbor 20’s! I can’t believe I didn’t take a photograph around the dinner table. It was sobering to see and hear about the damage that Hurricane Matthew wrought – I have a lot of photographs and will make a separate post of them. Seeing the damage and imagining the individual lives that have been impacted makes me so sad.
I don’t understand those that say they find the waterway through Georgia boring. To me it is one of the most beautiful stretches – okay, it’s a bit twisty-turny but every turn shows something new.
Sometimes the beauty of the anchorage at sunset is not when it’s all ablaze, but when the light mellows and softens and the moon rises.
There are times when you see a channel marker in the middle of the marsh ..???? – only to find out that the waterway curves around and you spend half an hour getting to where the crow could take you in five minutes.
We passed Thunderbolt Marine where Garth had worked on a 105′ boat “Victoria T” for Lex in the early days – all the boats are so big that their scale is lost in the comparison. One of the boats had been partially shrink wrapped – bet Brad would have loved that job!
How about these vultures roosting together in a tree? I had seen them circling and thought perhaps there was some food they were after, but it seemed they just needed to rest their wings. On all three trips we have done down the waterway, we have passed this lovely house on a narrow island – each time we get a good feeling about whoever lives there in complete solitude – I’m sure a lot of books are read in that house. Another house which is also remote, but not as livable.
We stopped for fuel at Jeckyll Island, but the timing was not right for spending the night. We had wanted to go to Fernandino Beach, but their docks had been completely destroyed by the Hurricane and they weren’t even able to have dinghies land to go ashore. So we stayed on the north side of the sound and spent the night at Cumberland Island, which had been recommended as a great stop. It is a wildlife refuge and we saw the wild horses (apparently descended from the Spanish herds) and wild turkeys. Unfortunately their dock had also been destroyed and we were not able to go ashore and over to the beach side.
Into Florida – it is amazing how every state is so distinguishable from the others. As wild and twisty as Georgia is, so Florida is straight and developed. Miles and miles of houses alongside the water, some fancy, some shabby, some manicured, some overgrown, but almost all of them with a pier and dock of some kind. Looking forward to seeing some of the mansions around Jupiter!
Our next stop was St. Augustine. After three nights on the hook we were looking forward to someone else cooking our dinner! We met up again with Mel and Gary who had picked up Mel’s sister Moira and her husband Mike in Savannah and the six of us enjoyed exploring St. Augustine. It is the oldest city in America and has a much more Spanish flavor than the historic towns we are used to up North. We really enjoyed it and hope to spend more time there visiting museums etc. on our way back next year. The buildings on the right are all the Hilton Hotel – how much better to preserve the waterfront as it was than build a big block building.
What was the Flagler Hotel has become Flagler College – a fine arts institution that is spectacularly beautiful. Hopefully those students appreciate their surroundings!
A very old fort, the lions that give the Bridge of Lions its name, and two very tame herons that we met on the dock.
Continuing south we had a beautiful calm evening at Rockhouse Creek, just below Daytona Beach. A soft gentle sunrise as the fishing boats headed out to sea; and the shoreline definitely Florida, with the textures and colors of the vegetation showing the change.
And then we were in Manatee country! I heard someone on the dock tonight saying that in all the years that they had been doing the trip through the waterway they had never actually seen a manatee – this year they were in abundance. There was one particular cut joining two rivers where fisherman lined the sides – in boats and on land – must have been a good feeding spot for them. Unfortunately it is hard to get a photograph – for the most part all you see is an exposed hump which rises and falls – I managed to get one shot that showed some body parts – but your guess is as good as mine as to which end is which and even how many of them there were!
We passed Cape Canaveral on the way down (I am so thrilled with my camera – I would never have been able to get such a shot with our old one).
Melanie and Gary have a 63′ mast. All the fixed bridges on the waterway have at least a 65′ opening, but with tides and all the additional water from the hurricane, they always have to take a very deep breath when passing underneath. Their VHF antenna regularly pings the cross beams as they pass; my boat-envy of their spacious Beneteau 49 diminishes at these times (but not for long!) We passed under a most beautiful bridge that had mosaics of dolphins and manatees and lovely terracotta shells – wish I could remember the name of the town. Spent the night at Cocoa and woke to a glorious sunrise before setting off for Vero Beach- from where this is being written.
We will set off for West Palm Beach in the morning, and it seems there is a weather window for crossing the Gulf Stream over to the Bahamas on Tuesday. If we can get all of our stuff done, and if the forecast holds, that’s what we’ll do. Once in the Bahamas we will try and get a local sim card for our old phone, but I’m not sure how connected we will be to the internet. So if you don’t hear from me for a while, be patient – I will post as soon as I can.
I get notifications that people are following the blog – thank you, it makes it worthwhile doing if I know you are interested. I use their method of inserting photos – I hope that you can click to make some of them bigger so you can see the detail. We’re having a good time so far; but also looking forward to getting over to the turquoise water and white sand.