Are we there yet?
Have we broken anything new recently?
1st. Monday. April Fool's Day.
Anchored at 27°09.252′N 080°11.748′W in Manatee Pocket, near Stuart, FL
Walkies and Wi-Fi at Sammies for breakfast.
Washup was showers at the marina "not-to-be-named".
Dinghy over to the Hinckley Marina to check on our part. Not yet.
Back to Hinckley.
Parts! Yes! Parts!
Our engine leakoff adapter in here!
Yay! Unless I break something else, we might be able to make some progress!
After lunch, we can finish assembling fuel lines to the engine. The Fuel in and fuel out lines all look good. The clearance between the two lines in microscopic. But they're in there.
I tried to manually prime for a while. This didn't seem to work out well. The fuel hose would hold cups of fuel, the little pump pushes tablespoons through. So I tried pouring some fuel in the bleed screw hole. This just sort of sat there, going nowhere.
Okay fine, then.
I can always try to start the engine. This will run the fuel pump.
[And yes, we really do have a 50-pack of "Do Not Operate" tags to be sure we don't forget what's taken apart and what still works.]
Starting the engine is a risky business. The battery isn't good for too much cranking. We can—as an emergency measure—put the two batteries in parallel. There's always the possibility of overheating the starter motor via prolonged cranking.
We have a further fall-back in case we can't get him started. We can charge the batteries from our little generator. So, we think we've got the risks covered.
Mr. Lehman cranked normally and started immediately. I found my safety glasses and opened the bleed screws on the secondary filters to be sure "solid" fuel came out (not a spritz of air and fuel.) He has been running nicely for the last hour.
Mr. Lehman is making his happy noise.
And so am I.
In principle, I should change the secondary fuel filters, too. After all, there's a slight chance of contamination from crud in the new fuel line. And, of course, the fuel was all drained out of the fuel line, making it slightly less messy to change the filters.
But I didn't actually change any filters. I was too happy to have the engine start right up with no leaking from the new fittings.
Dinner was green peppers, carrots and hot peppers over brown rice.
It starts like this:
CAPE FEAR TO 31N OUT TO 32N 73W TO 31N 74W-
1100 AM EDT MON APR 1 2013
GALE FORCE WINDS EXPECTED THU INTO FRI
Okay then. That makes a single off-shore run look a little less desirable. The ICW is a pain, but it doesn't involve gale force winds and 14 ft seas.
I guess we'll be pottering up the ICW (and the coast) instead of making a big, bold run for Beaufort.
The local weather for tomorrow looks like this.
Tuesday: North winds 10 knots. Seas 2 to 3 feet with a dominant period 14 seconds. A light chop on the intracoastal waters.
Tuesday Night: Northeast winds 10 knots. Seas 2 to 3 feet. Mostly smooth on the intracoastal waters.
This starts out straight into our face. Ugh. Offshore would be a slog.
A little north of here, it looks like this, which is much nicer. Once we get started, it should improve.
Wednesday: East winds 10 knots. Seas 3 to 4 feet. A light chop on the intracoastal waters.
Wednesday Night: East winds 10 to 15 knots increasing to 15 to 20 knots after midnight. Seas 2 to 3 feet.
Thursday: Southeast winds 15 to 20 knots increasing to 20 to 25 knots in the afternoon. Seas 2 to 3 feet. Slight chance of showers and thunderstorms.
This in-shore weather might make it easier to get around Cape Canaveral out the outside in one overnight instead of trudging up the ICW.
We also have to figure in the tides in the St. Lucie River area. Here in Manatee Pocket, low tide is 09:37, high tide 15:12. So we have the early afternoon of rising tide to make our escape.
We'll pass Sewall's point, where low tide tomorrow is 10:01, high tide at 15:34. So, it looks like we'll have an extra 20 minutes of rising tide as we work our way out.
|Arrive||Anchored at 27°09.252′N 080°11.748′W|
Started at 27°09.252′N 080°11.748′W in Manatee Pocket, near Stuart, FL, ICW Mile 987.
Sammies for a big breakfast, Walkies and Wi-Fi and Washup.
We'd like to refill our small propane tank, but that's difficult; there's no propane dealer walking distance from the waterfront. So that's off the list of pre-departure tasks.
Zone AMZ555 Tonight: East winds 10 knots. Seas 2 to 3 feet with a dominant period 5 seconds. Mostly smooth on the intracoastal waters.
Zone AMZ552 Wednesday: East winds 10 to 15 knots. Seas 3 to 4 feet with a dominant period 7 seconds. A moderate chop on the intracoastal waters.
Wednesday Night: East winds 10 to 15 knots. Seas 3 to 4 feet. A light chop on the intracoastal waters. Slight chance of showers.
Zone AMZ550 Thursday: Southeast winds 15 to 20 knots. Seas 4 to 6 feet. Choppy on the intracoastal waters. Chance of showers and slight chance of thunderstorms.
Zone AMZ454 Thursday Night: South winds 20 to 25 knots. Seas 4 to 6 feet. Inland waters rough. Showers likely and scattered thunderstorms.
Friday: Southwest to west 15 to 20 knots. Seas 3 to 5 feet. Inland waters choppy. Showers and thunderstorms likely in the morning...then scattered showers in the afternoon.
Weather is not looking quite so clement as we get further north. Sometime Thursday, between Flagler Beach and Daytona Beach, we should probably look for a duck in to wait out the weather. It's 80 nm to Cape Canaveral then 50 or so nm to Ponce de Leon inlet. That's 26-32 hours (depending on wind) so it looks feasible.
And Ponce de Leon inlet is deep, easy to navigate. Heading S from Ponce there's a couple of good anchorages recommended by local boaters as well as Skipper Bob's Guide to the ICW.
Fuel and Water
Step 1. Haul up the anchor.
This, it turns out, is extremely messy.
After two months in the Bahamas—anchoring in clean sand—the bottom of Manatee Pocket is a surprisingly rich, thick muddy goo. More like the Chesapeake.
And we forgot to rig the salt-water washdown hose. So we made a mess. Covered the foredeck in thick, black mud.
Once past that fiasco, we went up the Manatee Pocket to the Sailfish Marina for 35 gallons of fuel, plus water.
Tanks are full. Tide is high. Time to make some northing.
We knew the first part of the trip would be bashing into northerly winds. The winds, however, were light, so it was kind of fun. Big waves breaking on either side of the bowsprit are picturesque. I need to find a place to mount the GoPro Hero3 camera to capture it.
We set Mr. Lehman at 1500 RPM, dialed the due N course for Mr. Benmar and chugged up the Florida coast.
At 20:33, the winds had clocked around to the E and CA could set the stays'l and make some more speed with less fuel consumption. Always nice. And it tends to steady the boat a bit.
Ended at 27°54.643N 080°15.426W
|Depart||Started at 27°09.252′N 080°11.748′W|
|Waypoint||Midnight at 27°54.643N 080°15.426W|
Started at 27°54.643′N 080°15.426′W
The swell grew to be largish in the dark. Not gigantic. Not like the trip from St. Mary's to St. Augustine. But large and uncomfortable. CA puked once.
By 07:00, CA took the stays'l back in. The wind died away to almost nothing. Additionally, it had continued to clock around until it was dead astern as well as uselessly light.
At 10:30, the NOAA weather radio report gave us pause.
We could easily make Ponce de Leon inlet (near Daytona) during daylight Wednesday. At our current speed, we would make St. Augustine late Wednesday night. We would make Fernandina Beach on Thursday mid-morning.
Once we heard the weather report for seriously bad weather in Fernandina on Thursday—during the day—we felt that it was time to make a course change. We discussed this as best we could. It was CA's off-watch, so she was mostly asleep. But she did wake up enough to decide that we would duck in to Ponce de Leon inlet and anchor near Daytona rather than push on. Pushing on amounted to the hope that we might not get hammered by the weather.
The entrance to St. Mary's/Fernandina is easy, even in rough weather. But who wants rough weather?
The anchorage near dayboard #44 in the ICW south of Daytona (Statute Mile 831.9) is shallow. Really shallow. The chart says 13′, but we couldn't find anything over 7′. We think it could be deeper a little further north and closer to shore. But the Rocna is set here. So, we'll probably be sitting in the mud at low tide.
Safely anchored, we feel that we can ignore the bad weather predicted for Thursday. We can motor up the ICW toward St. Augustine if it's not too bad. Or wait here if it's really bad.
Dinner was tortellini in a killer vodka sauce. Killer.
Anchored at 29°11.713′N 081°00.185′W, near Daytona, FL
|Waypoint||Midnight 27°54.643′N 080°15.426′W|
|Arrive||Anchored at 29°11.713′N 081°00.185′W|
Anchored at 29°11.713′N 081°00.185′W, near Daytona, FL, ICW Mile 831
Did we say we can safely ignore the bad weather?
We've decided that we're not going to ignore thundershowers by motoring up the ICW. We'll ignore the thundershowers by sitting here in Daytona.
We motored down the ICW in November through rain showers. We learned our lesson on the ICW: It Can Wait.
Instead of motoring in the (threatened) rain today, we had pancakes for breakfast. Then CA baked bread, scones and cookies, and I generally sat around doing very little.
Dinner was split pea soup with homemade bread.
Tomorrow, we'll start heading north again. We'll chug up the ICW to St. Augustine. If we really hustle, we can do it in one (long) day. Rather than depend on hustle, we have a planned stop at Fort Matanzas. If we got through the bridges and kept our speed up, maybe we can press on. Otherwise, we think we can drop the hook there.
From St. Augustine, can wait for a weather window to see if we can jump to Beaufort or maybe Wilmington (the Cape Fear inlet). Directly to Beaufort is 360 nm; 72-90 hours; 3-4 days. Wilmington is 286 nm, something we can do in 60-72 hours. 2½-3 days. These are long trips, and we would need to wait for great weather. We don't want to spend too much time waiting, though.
If we decide to stop in at Charleston, again (and perhaps rendezvous with VGA Diane), we don't need a big weather window. Charleston is 174 nm away; 36-48 hours from St. Augustine. Reasonable if we can just get two days of good weather. Or maybe we'll break this up into two legs: an overnighter to St. Mary's; a second overnighter to Charleston.
|Arrive||Anchored at 29°11.713′N 081°00.185′W|
Started at 29°11.713′N 081°00.185′W, near Daytona, FL, ICW Mile 831
Pulled up the hook and motored north on the ICW. It was a calm, overcast morning.
A few showers. Deer nibbling on the manicured lawns of epic mansions.
It was a parade of spectacular waterfront homes on the ICW. Interspersed with some rusty mobile homes fronted by collapsing docks. It takes all kinds.
About 13:00 the wind kicked up to 20 (gusting higher), and the temperature fell to the mid-60's. We lost at least a knot of boat speed because we were motoring directly into it. Ouch, it was cold.
After motoring 29 nm, we dropped the anchor in the Matanzas river. It's not charted, but Active Captain, Skipper Bob's, and On The Water Cruising Guide all agree that it's a good anchorage with reasonable depths. We found it to be about 7' deep crossing the bar into the river.
The current and wind disagree by about 120°, so we're pointed one way, heeled over, wind blowing from across our quarter and twitching around our anchor chain. If the wind or the current would just ease, this will be a great anchorage. If neither backs off, it will be confusing as we twitch around.
Anchored at 29°43.071′N 081°14.534′W, near Fort Matanzas, ICW Mile 729
Dinner was spicy African yam stew with chick peas, orzo and cabbage.
I really should check tomorrow's weather carefully. Today's blast of cold north winds was a shocker. But. We're only going a 10 or so miles tomorrow.
|Depart||Started at 29°11.713′N 081°00.185′W|
|Arrive||Anchored at 29°43.071′N 081°14.534′W|
Started at 29°43.071′N 081°14.534′W, near Fort Matanzas, ICW Mile 729
It was a quick 3-hour slog up the river this morning. The wind was blowing a steady 15 gusting to 20 straight into our face. The ICW rarely builds up big waves unless there's a long open stretch aligned with the wind.
Once we got to St. Augustine, we were able to pick up the mooring on the first try with no mishaps. And that means that CA was able to hold Red Ranger steady in 15-20 knot winds while I grabbed the mooring pendant and wrestled lines around the bow pulpit and through the eye of the mooring.
[Don't be mislead by my choice of pictures, CA did not bake bread today: it's an old picture: I didn't have any good ones from today.]
We said hello to Creola and Joie de Vivre. Then checked in to the marina so we can get Washed Up, Walkies and Wi-Fi. W00t W00t.
We're waiting for Indefatigable to join the party.
Then we're going to start looking at the weather and figuring out what route we're following north. Outside in jumps or inside to avoid bad weather.
Moored at 29°53.233′N 081°18.533′W, M-17, St. Augustine Municipal Marina
Dinner on Creola with Joie de Vivre. Yum. Friends and food. A great "welcome home" to St. Augustine.
We'll be moving on, but this has the feeling of home after having been here for so long.
|Depart||Started at 29°43.071′N 081°14.534′W|
|Arrive||Moored at 29°53.233′N 081°18.533′W|
Moored at 29°53.233′N 081°18.533′W, M-17, St. Augustine Municipal Marina, ICW Mile 777
Walkies to Kookaburra for some coffee and Wi-Fi while CA went off to yoga.
Walkies and Victuals at Stewart's market for fresh veggies.
And that's our busy, busy day.
Dinner was a tomato, cheese and basil salad, corn on the cob and a bean burrito.
CA made her first appliqué quilt square using some fabric pieces she had kept in her "hobbies box." In addition to quilt squares, she's planning to make a hooked rug for the bottom of the companionway ladder. She's been researching backing canvas, embroidery hoops, wool, needles, etc.. She's also been looking at starter kits to save the effort of trying to buy all the bits and pieces separately.
Ideally, a hooked rug can be made from scrap wool fabric. CA's mother used to buy old tattered wool clothing at garage sales and the Salvation Army store. She'd patiently slice the wool into strips, match the colors, sew it into long pieces and then plait the pieces into giant rugs. CA's thinking of buying pre-cut strips. More expensive, but slightly simpler for folks with no fixed address.
|Arrive||Moored at 29°53.233′N 081°18.533′W|
Engine Hours: 39. Diesel Gallons: 35. Water Gallons: 30. Miles Run: 146.
Books: Our Kind of Traitor: A Novel. The Lobster Chronicles. Stalking the Blue-Eyed Scallop.
Read Aloud: A Dance with Dragons: A Song of Ice and Fire.