43. Back in Florida and GOOD NEWS

Saturday. A beautiful morning/day. Bright sunshine all day. Chilly – -mother 10 degrees would have been nice but based on the weather in general since leaving Norfolk, I’m not complaining. Another full day running the boat from the lower station. Shortly after leaving Brunswick southbound and after passing Jekyll Island you come to St Andrews Sound – a large open bay with an inlet to the Atlantic.

There are two passages through the Sound. This Spring I took the most used route which on the screenshot above would start at waypoint 15, head westerly to waypoint 5-6 and the s northerly through 3 to waypoint 1. There are lots of shallows and twists and turns which show better when the screenshot is zoomed in. Another route heads East to the Atlantic inlet. It’s more straight forward and deep water but far more open to the ocean. I elected this second route today and you can see my blue dotted line of my actual track. You can see from the northern most point of the route where it diverges from waypoint 1, that the route is progressively exposed to more open ocean until it does a sharp 120 degree turn back at BST04 waypoint. The winds were out of the north and the current ran heavily from the south – building waves the entire way. Mostly ran 5-6’ and breaking but the boat handled it well. I haven’t found any report on the sites I frequent of anyone actually having run that route. My opinion is that it was easier. At BST03 waypoint you can see the yellow triangle with the warning “!”. The pop up window for that warning says:

So the trip today was 57.5 nm covered in 6 hrs 20 minutes. I found a vacant spot along Sisters Creek free docks on the north side of Jacksonville, FL. It is exactly as advertised. A floating face dock next to a public launching ramp that can accommodate a half dozen or so boats. No water, no power, no dock hands, no reservations, first come first served free tie up. I took the last spot. Turned on the generator, plugged in the InstantPot and made up a mess of home made chili. Delish with 2 more meals packed and in my new freezer. (The boat came with a portable Dometic freezer that was set in the Pilothouse. there are two under counter sub zero frig/freezers in the galley plus this portable unit in the Pilothouse and an ice maker on the bridge. Anyway the portable died in Charleston and two days later, my friend Amazon delivered a new larger portable to the dock.)

Good News

I’ve been trying to find availability for two months in the Keys. I had previously secured a slip for January and this afternoon I received a call back from a marina and now have February covered as well. Woot!

And back to water….

Headed south from Sister Creek to St Augustine, FL. Easy transit. Beautiful day but still a bit of a chill and breeze.

St Augustine, what a great town. I can’t count the times I’ve breezed by with my impression of SA formed from I 95. I think the one time I actually stopped at SA was 21-22 yrs ago soon after we started full timing and we had our 1st 5th wheel. And I got a bad case of PTSD From that. My rig wandered down one of their narrow streets and I knew I was in deep trouble. Then I saw the street stop and it appeared that I’d not be able to cut the corner. The choice was one. Back the rig back down the street a couple of blocks to a major intersection. Sharon got out to block traffic and direct me. Finally a cop arrived and blocked the intersection so I could ‘escape’ and escape I did, totally humiliated and never to return again by vehicle. And so I triumphantly return by water.

The current was really running strong and I had a short wait at Bridge of Lions until it opened for me and the 3 sailboats. On the north side of the bridge is a very large mooring field (where floating mooring balls are anchored to the bottom to which you can tether the boat. This is a favorite anchoring way for single screw boats to hangout without having to dock with or against the currents. Immediately south if the bridge is the St Augustine Municipal Marina followed by another large even mooring field.

I received my slip assignment and direction by radio and after setting up for a stern in, starboard side tie, I proceeded to dock. It went easy though room was tight for spinning to back in. I’m 48’ long and the fairway, open distance between opposing docks, was showing only 36’. It was more and I think they post that so the captain doesn’t fall asleep. I know I stayed alert.

Hooked up to power and the dock power pedestal immediately blew a breaker. Kept trying to no avail. Let out motor cord and tried a different pedestal with no luck. Everyone said it was the new style GFI sensitive pedestal mandated for new marinas of ‘remodeled’ one several years back. Having had the boat retired last April and having been at numerous new installs this summer and never having tripped before, I didn’t or do think so. Checked all the usual suspects – on board tripped GFIs etc. resorted to turning of all boat circuit breakers, plugging in and turning breakers on one by one to find the culprit. It was the breaker for one of the galley fridges.

So everything was OK? Nope. ~ settled in and discovered that no electric plugs on the main level work.. flybridge plugs are fine. Engine room plugs too as are the plugs in the lower staterooms and heads. With salon and galley plugs dead, there’s no power to the salon TV, to the micro or the 2 fridges and the new portable freezer. Electric range was OK. Had to dump the fridge perishables. Ran an extension cord from below stateroom up to the portable freezer and got out the old ice chest/cooler for some new supplies. Another boat gremlin 🤬! Have some work scheduled already next week so will add this to the list. Guessing only receiving one leg off the 50amp circuit but concerned cause that should go away on generator but it doesn’t. [edit – Pluged in at the next Marina today and all was OK. Despite their protestations, their loose fitting plug was only connecting one leg 😄😅

The marina, in addition to its mooring fields, is quite large and filled pretty much with transient vessels. Very busy with lots of boat watching. Right across the narrow street from it is old town St Augustine. Restaurant and art gallery Mecca. Really cool town for walking.

View from marina lawn
Very typical old town street
Lions Bridge. Usually see the drawbridge function from the water
Looking back down the dock. Last Resort is about 1/2 way down. They use the first 3 or 4 pens, both sides of the main dock, as a dinghy dock. Boaters in the mooring field can dinghy in and tie up to fill water jugs, go get groceries, get breakfast, lunch or dinner, walk the dog or go sightseeing. This is one side of the dock and is relatively empty.
And looking, from the same spot, back towards town

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