12 December 2006

meow meow, MEOW!

December 12, 2006

By Kit Kat

They finally let me get my mitts on the computer. Listen, it’s not all fun and games. I am very hungry all the time. I know we’re at sea, but we’re not shipwrecked so I don’t understand why my food has to be rationed all the time. Where is my liver pate? Today I simply wanted to go into the marina office and make new friends with the nice dockmaster (who I suspect had some tuna fish behind his desk) but mean Kristen came chasing after me and threw (yes, THREW) me back on the boat. They still haven’t let me go in the dinghy yet. And don’t even talk about the bathroom situation. It stinks. The only saving grace of this whole trip is that I get to sit in the sun every now and then when I can muster enough energy to drag my weary, half-starved body up the companionway steps. Wish me good luck for my next escape attempt.

Here I am, hiding from them. I don't think they'll see me behind the whisker pole.

See, I help. I'm a really good navigator. That should give me at least one can of tuna a day, don't you think? And how about that slender figure? I don't have any idea who that man was talking about when he asked "So, is she pregnant?"

HA! Finally, some food to ease the pain in my stomach. I don't think they saw me eating their spilt eggs.

Fernandina Beach, Florida

December 12, 2006

Well, we finally made it to Florida!

After reluctantly leaving Savannah on Sunday morning, we motored for three days to get here. The weather has been sunny and blustery, so we’ve been going through thermoses of tea each day. We went grocery shopping the night before leaving, so we’ve been eating quite well. We cooked Karin’s (Hans’ mom) Creole chicken stew, which was fabulous. (The recipe is in the comments from a previous entry, but you’ll need to learn a little Swedish). Last night we made a recipe from a cruising memoir, chicken with rice, cheese, avocado and tomatoes. Tonight we’ll probably make some pasta with a sausage and tomato sauce.

Georgia was mainly undeveloped marshland with the ICW weaving its way through tidal rivers and creeks. As we’ve come to get used to, the currents have been quite swift, but they seem to average out to give us a speed of about 6 miles per hour over ground. For the Vega people reading this blog, the Beta engine has been consuming a little over 1/3 gal. Per hour and has been plenty powerful.

Kristen takes advantage of the sunny weather to varnish the companionway boards

Back in July, some of you may remember that we both attended a diesel seminar in Annapolis. That day-long event paid off on Monday morning. Soon after leaving Savannah on Sunday, we stopped in Thunderbolt to top off our diesel tank. A couple of times during the day, after filling up, we noticed that the engine was running erratically. At first we suspected that there was water in the fuel from condensation due to the cold weather and the previously half-empty fuel tank. However, we couldn’t find any water in the fuel filters, and figured that there must be air in the high-pressure fuel lines. So, on Monday morning, when the engine started acting up again, Kristen got out her notes from the diesel seminar and Hans proceeded to bleed the high pressure fuel lines of all the air. Problem solved! It was easier than we suspected and took less than half an hour. (Again, for the Beta/Vega people out there, the Beta 13.5 engine will run at idle with only one cylinder firing, which makes bleeding the lines MUCH easier.)

After the Monday morning mechanical triumph, we continued motoring until we found an almost idyllic anchorage just north of Brunswick, Georgia on Jove Creek. It was a little tricky getting in as the chart showed shoaling on both sides and the creek wasn’t marked, but we snuck in just fine. We were the only people in the creek for the whole night, except for one fisherman who sped by around sunset. We were surrounded by marsh grass, water and stars. However, due to the popularity of water, there is always development nearby, so while we felt as if we were in the middle of nowhere, we could hear police sirens, traffic and what seemed to be evangelical Christian piped music. How serene…

Sunrise above Jove Creek

We motored this morning past Jekyll Island and the Coast Guard cutter that was replanting the channel markers, through a couple sounds, until we made it to Fernandina Beach, FL (FLORIDA!!), around 3PM. At one point, the ICW went out almost into the Atlantic. The chart indicated that we needed to turn right at Red “31” which appeared to be missing. The boat ahead of us got a little excited and called the Coast Guard cutter which was nearby asking for the location of Red “31.” The Coast Guard replied “well, yes, Red 31 is here on our boat, we’re in the process of repositioning it. How can we help you?” With a panic-stricken voice, the sailor replied “Just get me out of here!” We later came upon them hard aground, between two red channel markers (for the non-boaters, you always keep the same colored markers to the same side of your boat, on the ICW going south, Red is almost always to starboard). When we came upon this same boat, he had a red marker to starboard, and a red marker to port. We offered to help and they declined. They came in to port at Fernandina Beach a couple hours after us today, so nothing hurt but pride.

Here's another coast guard barge installing channel markers

A typical shrimp boat, returning to port.

We’ll stick around Fernandina Beach until we get our mail, hopefully it will come in tomorrow, although the PO is a little busy since it’s the holiday season and all. The town is very cute and touristy, but has some great ice cream (Happy Cow from Clearwater, Pete and Janice have you had it?) and we’ll bike to the beach tomorrow!

(paper mill on the north side of Fernandina Beach, the beach is on the other side of town!)