Friday, July 25, 2008

Greetings, Faithful Readers!

Just wanted to post a brief update to let you know that we are doing fine and are enjoying some time on land visiting family and friends. We will update the blog when we return to Savannah around the middle of August with pictures and stories of the Captain's 50th birthday gathering, our trips to Missouri and Colorado, and the various stops along the way in Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama to visit friends.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Jacksonville to Savannah

The afternoon temperature cooled down nicely after the storm moved through on Monday, June 30th. Raffael, Todd's friend from Switzerland, arrived about 8:00 p.m. and we had a nice dinner aboard "Life's2Short" while Todd and Raffael spent some time catching up on each other's lives over the past thirteen years.

We woke up to rain Tuesday morning, which is a first since we returned from the Bahamas. We've seen plenty of rain but it has always been in the form of storms in the heat of the afternoon. After the rain stopped we walked into the downtown Jacksonville area where Raffael treated us to breakfast at the Zodiac Cafe.

"Life's2Short" at the Jacksonville Landing.

Raffael with the Captain and Admiral - thanks for coming to see us, Raffael! We really enjoyed your visit!!!

Later that morning Raffael took us to the Jacksonville Beaches, about fifteen miles east, where we spent some time walking along the beach before stopping in at Bukkets for lunch. After lunch Raffael took a dip in the Atlantic before returning to the Landing where we spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing on the boat.

This little bird flew right in to the sundeck, so I decided to give it some bread crumbs.

Raffael chillin' on the bow. I think maybe he could get used to this lifestyle!

Shortly before dark, massive swarms of sparrow-like birds - literally thousands of them - darkened the early evening sky around the Landing. We were never able to determine what they were doing or why they were there, but it was quite a sight! We ended our day with a trip to the Hooter's on the Landing for salad and wings, followed by a few hours of quiet conversation on the boat.

Raffael left about 8:30 Wednesday morning to begin his road trip to Houston, TX to pick up a friend who is with him on his cross-country trip through Colorado and Las Vegas and on to the west coast where he is meeting yet another friend who is flying to Cancun with him. Sounds like quite an adventure!

We left the Landing about an hour after Raffael and arrived at the Cumberland Island National Seashore in Georgia about 3:30 p.m. It was a nice, uneventful day with no storms, although the boat bumped bottom a few times just south of Fernandina Beach in an area that was charted to have ten feet of water at low tide, which means it had less than four feet at about half-tide! But we are finding that the charted depths on the east coast are often inaccurate. And with anywhere from eight to nine-and-a-half foot tides to contend with, it's a little different than what we're used to!

Thursday morning we put in a five-mile hike on Cumberland Island with a walk to and along the beach and back to one of the dinghy docks provided by the National Park Service. We found a few shells on the beach and saw wild horses and turkeys along the way. Later that afternoon, after resting, Todd decided to change the secondary fuel filters on both engines to hopefully solve the fuel filter issues we've been having. We can hope!

This billowing cloud of smoke is from a fire at the north end of Cumberland Island.

We saw these wild horses from where the boat was anchored.

This is Coleman Avenue, lined with live oaks covered in Spanish moss. The National Park Service calls it The Maritime Forest.

The ruins of Dungeness, a magnificent estate owned by Thomas and Lucy Carnegie, that burned in 1959.

There were several wild turkeys wandering around the island.

This plaque was at the Dungeness ruins.

When the tide goes out, the Fiddler crabs come out in force to feed on the exposed muddy banks.

These wild horses were grazing peacefully when the Captain first spotted them.

Shortly after, they started fussing and took off down this pathway, one chasing the other.

Todd caught them fighting on the other side of the covered pathway. What a great shot!

No forest is complete without spiders - unfortunately!

We put in about six hours on Friday and ended up anchoring in a small creek surrounded by saltwater marshes north of Brunswick, GA. We originally tried to anchor just south of the Golden Isles Marina in Brunswick so we could watch the fireworks display on St. Simons Island but couldn't get the anchor to hold so we finally gave up and moved further north. That evening we could see fireworks displays all around us but they were too far away to appreciate.

Saturday morning the Captain awoke to find that the birds had made quite a mess of his boat. There were muddy bird tracks and bird droppings all over the bow and on the top of the flybridge canvas. Just what the Captain needed - another cleaning project! We travelled another fifty miles on Saturday to anchor in Wahlberg Creek, east of St. Catherines Island. Not long before we anchored, severe thunderstorms popped up north and south of us but we managed to stay between them and ended up only having light rain into the evening.

On Sunday we were underway by 7:00 a.m. and tied up at Hinckley Yacht Services in Savannah by noon. Originally we had planned to arrive either Sunday evening or Monday afternoon at slack tide, but since we put in more mileage than anticipated over the previous few days, we were able to make an earlier slack tide on Sunday. Slack tide occurs about every six hours, at high tide and again at low tide, just before the tide changes from high to low or low to high. In areas like this with a lot of current, it is best to wait for slack tide when docking a boat!

A view of the Intracoastal Waterway in Georgia.

There are many saltwater marshes lining the waterway in this part of the country.

This area, called Isle of Hope, had a popular anchorage, a nice marina and several beautiful homes.

We've seen a number of shrimp boats in this part of Georgia. In fact, several were shrimping in the Atlantic not far offshore from Cumberland Island.

Once we were situated at the dock, Todd called Howard & Sue Berriman to let them know we had arrived. Howard retired from Missouri State University (where both Todd and I used to work) last fall and moved to Savannah. They have never seen "Life's2Short" so we made tentative plans for them to come over later that afternoon. First things first, though - the Captain started scrubbing off the many bird tracks and droppings acquired at the saltwater marsh anchorage of a few days ago!

Howard & Sue arrived about 3:00 p.m. Sunday afternoon and after some catching up and a tour of the boat, took us to downtown Savannah where we had some great pizza at the locally famous Vinnie VanGoGo's Pizzeria and walked along the Savannah River waterfront. Savannah has a very nicely preserved and developed downtown area with shops and restaurants everywhere you look. Before taking us back to the boat, Howard took us to the "world famous" (according to their literature) Leopold's for ice cream - always a special treat for boaters!

Today is Monday, July 7th, and we are preparing for the arrival of guests for the birthday boy's celebration later this week. The Captain spent another couple of hours this morning finishing washing the exterior of the boat while I started rounding up things to take back to Missouri and wrote the blog update.

Shelly, our good friend from Springfield and organizer of the birthday celebration, is flying in this evening from Springfield, and Nila & Everett are due sometime this afternoon. They elected to drive from Missouri and have spent the last couple of days sightseeing along the way. Shelly will spend the night with us aboard "Life's2Short," and Nila & Everett are staying with Howard & Sue. Tomorrow we will begin our stay at the house on Tybee Island.

I doubt I will have a chance to update the blog before we go back to Missouri early next week, so I will plan on doing it some time while we're there. In the immediate future, however, we are looking forward to a fun-filled week in Savannah with good friends and family as we celebrate the Captain's half century mark!!!