We finally sold Willy! We definitely have mixed emotions about it selling. It is really disappointing that the guy who delivered our boat from TN was a month later than he said he would be. It also sucks that our rudder broke and pushed us back another three weeks. It also sucks that we cant afford to keep it stored over the winter while we are in Haiti and keep going next summer. At the same time, I am really glad that we don’t have to worry anymore about trying to sell the boat from another country. Its nice to have money in our account and to know that it is no longer going to be slowly disappearing in slip fees. Thanks to Jaqui and Captain Crunch (see earlier blog post) and Allison’s parents it all went down without a hitch.
We have been living in Haiti for about a month now. We came here a few years ago right after the earth quake so we knew already that we really like it here. We have been getting along great with the family that we are living with/ working for. We really dodged a bullet with that one…
View of Haiti from the roof.
Last week we took a trip down to the Irish Embassy for Scott’s birthday. I was really confused at first, the way they talked about it, I thought that we were going to an Irish restaurant in the Irish Embassy in Haiti… Turns out they just call the local Irish pub the embassy as a joke.
After enjoying our delicious fish and chips, and bangers and mash (we actually ate burgers) we were approached buy this German guy named Stefan. “Hello” he said “I have a proposal. If none of you have any moral, ethical, religious, or political objections I would like very much to buy you a drink.” None of us had any objections, but we did have to go pick up Scott and Aprils kids from work (the kids work for some friends at their pizza restaurant) so we really didn’t have time. However, before we could even respond the waitress brought out 6 beers and 6 gin and tonics… My first inclination was that he had slipped something in the drinks and was was planning on taking advantage of us all monetarily (and lets be honest probably sexually too).
He said that he just wanted to have a conversation about economics. When we asked him what he did for a living he slapped himself in the face repeatedly and then sniffed his armpits. When we asked him how long he has been in Haiti, he slapped himself in the face and sniffed his armpits. We decided pretty quickly that unless we wanted to wake up on the side of the road in Port Au Prince we should probably head out quickly.
We’ve been in St.Augustine for three weeks now, which feels like forever after you’ve been hopping from place to place all summer. Fortunately, there’s not only a ton to do here, but Josh has a friend from his high school days who lives here as well. Zac and Jacqui live two boats down from us! It’s a small world. Before leaving on The Tinii Adventure, Josh ran into a friend in East Nashville. When he asked him if he had seen anyone else from high school, this friend told us that Zac was, “Like…living on a sailboat in St.Augustine,” as if that was a very strange thing. We got Zac’s number and gave him a call. When our rudder broke in Beaufort and we almost gave up, Zac was one of the people who would regularly call and encourage/beg/harass us not to quit. Once we got to St.Augustine, the dockmaster here kept referring to some guy named Crunch as if we should know who he was talking about. Little did we know that Zac picked up the nickname Crunch years ago which was sort of destiny because with the purchase of a sailboat he completed the transformation to Captain Crunch…and that is baller.
But I digress.
We got here and paid for two days at the marina knowing we had to make a decision. First, do we find a place to keep Willy while we are in Haiti or do we sell? Secondly, IF we sell do we keep sailing and risk having to let Willy go for next to nothing or do we stop here (where the marina is cheap and we have friends) and go ahead and list it.
After looking at what it would cost to keep Willy we knew selling it was in the cards. Not only is it expensive to keep a boat, but it’s sort of sad just letting it sit unused. I’d rather have the money growing in savings (for our next boat, haha) and let Willy have an adventure with someone else.
So, the next dilemma. We VERY sadly decided to stop in St.Augustine and list Willy. We just couldn’t justify a couple more weeks of sailing for losing thousands of dollars in a quick sale. So, we find ourselves in St.Augustine catching up with old friends, making new ones, and exploring America’s oldest city.
Luckily, there is a ton to do here….
The most obvious thing is Castillo de San Marcos. It’s a big Spanish Fort downtown.
The fort was completed in 1695 when Florida was part of the Spanish Empire. The fort was never conquered despite many English attacks. Along our sail down the coast, we saw a few of the English forts as well and I can say that without a doubt, the Spanish were much better fort builders. Plus their canons were prettier.
While we have been parked here in St.Augustine…we both turned 28. On Josh’s birthday he knocked something off his bucket list. We went to the Hot Shot Bakery and did their food challenge. This required us to eat a chocolate covered Datil pepper so that we could get a bumper sticker and a picture on the wall. I wasn’t going to do it but Josh pulled the “It’s my birthday so you have to” card. After years of eating ghost pepper hot sauce, Josh’s spicy taste buds are pretty hardcore so he was a little unfazed by this challenge. He really wants to try to guzzle gallons of ghost pepper soup at Nitally’s in Tampa because the prize is $1000.
The Wall of Flame.
We spent an entire day on our “shared birthday-day” doing touristy things. Since Josh’s day is the 25th and mine is the 27th…the 26th gets a celebration too. We started the day at The Alligator Farm. In hindsight, I added “See every species of crocodillian in the world” because that’s what we accomplished at the alligator farm.
Creepy albino alligator
Feeding the gators.
We also climbed the lighthouse here. Apparently it’s one of the most haunted places in St.Augustine. I read somewhere that there are 13 pirates buried somewhere around here. I decided that if I HAD to run into a ghost, a pirate one would be the coolest. Ghost kids are creepy, ghost soldiers are sad…ghost pirates are bad ass.
We also went to Ripley’s Believe It or Not that day. The cool thing about this one is that it is in Mr.Ripley’s house! Apparently St.Augustine was his home base. The other cool thing was realizing that Mama Jimmie (Josh’s grandmother) owns several things that were in Mr.Ripley’s collection…I don’t know what that says about Mama Jimmie or Mr.Ripley.
Even though we’re bummed to be selling Willy, St.Augustine isn’t the worst place to be stuck.
So here is the promised real post about what we’ve been up to (besides dreaming of being on Reading Rainbow).
The last you heard, we were leaving Jacksonville. We tried to make it all the way to St.Augustine in one day but that would have been a long day. Long days are not our thing. We motored through some really straight and narrow (insert bible verse joke here) parts of the ICW that were lined with huge houses. It was pretty cool, actually, and a really easy day.
This house had it’s own bar on the upper deck.
One of the houses on this section of the ICW
We pulled into our anchorage behind a large trawler. Josh was at the wheel and I was up front ready to drop the anchor. Josh pulled into our spot and started backing up which I thought was my cue to drop the anchor. Usually I would pull out the rode to a good length and cleat it off before throwing the anchor over. I can’t remember why I didn’t, but I didn’t. No big deal though because there is 200′ of rode AND supposedly a knot in the end of it that keeps it from all going overboard. So I drop the anchor and Josh is backing up, and keeps backing up. I try to cleat it off quickly, but that squishes my fingers and gives me rope burn even though I’m wearing gloves. I yell at Josh to go forward but he doesn’t even realize that I dropped the anchor. He was just backing up INTO the spot he liked and away from the trawler. Oops. Communicating over a rumbling engine under stress is not our forte. So, when I tell Josh to go forward, he just yells, “WHY?” I’m thinking, “What the heck do you mean WHY?” and screaming, “JUST DO IT!” I’m still trying to grab rode and getting rope burns galore but still not too worried because – like I said – there’s a knot in the end. Except that there wasn’t. So about the fourth time Josh asks why I turn around to see our anchor, chain, and rope all disappear into the water. I momentarily consider jumping in after it. Josh momentarily considered shoving me in after it I’m sure.
Needless to say there was a lot of frustration and anger and not so nice words thrown around that night. However, the good thing about a boat is that you better get over it quickly because we only have 30′ of space to share and we also have to problem solve pretty quickly. So, we threw our extra anchor over and devised a plan for the morning. Luckily our GPS had tracked our movements so we could sort of tell where I threw the anchor over.
HOW TO FIND AN ANCHOR YOU DROPPED
Step 1: Stop yelling at each other about whose fault it is WHY the anchor is on the ocean floor in the first place.
Step 2: Get a small dinghy anchor on some rope, your GPS (if you were lucky), and some sort of float.
Step 3: Get in the dinghy and drive over to where you think you dropped the anchor.
Step 4: Now throw that little anchor over and drive all around in circles like a crazy person while praying really hard. If all goes well, that little anchor will snag your main anchor rode and you’ll pull it up!
Step 5: Laugh about all the mean things you said to each other.
Step 6: Tie a float onto that newly recovered rode and head back to our boat where you will TRIPLE CLEAT THAT RODE TO YOUR BOAT. Pull up your anchor and head on down the road.
It really was that simple. We lucked out with the GPS thing as it was spot on.
While we are talking bout anchors, let me tell you about our favorite anchoring technique – the kellet. Before we left, Josh made a kellet for our boat. This is basically any sort of weight that you can slide down the anchor rode. The theory is that this helps the anchor rode to lay closer to the sea bed which improves the anchor’s holding power. You can see some good pictures here. This website suggests a 25-35 pound kellet for a 35 foot vessel. Our boat is 30 feet and Josh overkilled it with a 40 lb. kellet. He basically took a length of pvc pipe and filled it with weights from goodwill and concrete. He capped off the ends and added to U-bolts – one to each end of the PVC pipe. The kellet has its own length of rope attached to one boat that we use for lowering and raising the kellet. The other U-bolt clips onto the anchor rode.
We have not drug ONCE using this system. Honestly, we’ve never put out the recommended 7:1 ratio either. For you landlubbers, everyone tells you to put out 7 feet of rode (the chain/rope combo the anchor is on) for every foot of water where you are anchoring. So, if you are in 10 feet of water you need 70 feet of rode out. That’s a lot and it means you can’t anchor in tight spaces without doing some fancy anchoring. With the kellet, we MAYBE did 4:1…5:1 if the weather was bad. We still never drug our anchor. Everyone will also say Danforth anchors suck, but that’s what we’ve got.
Basically, to each his own but just know you don’t have to spend $300 on a fancy shmancy anchor and tons of chain. A bag of concrete and some Goodwill weights has worked for us.
We decided to make the 15 mile trek off the ICW to Jacksonville. You can dock right downtown for three nights! We are poor. There is no way we could pass up three free nights!
After getting cleaned up we went to the Mexican restaurant right behind our boat at the downtown docks. While we were shoveling chips and salsa into our mouths like a Saint Bernard that hasn’t seen a meal in three days a homeless man walked by. He was wearing scrubs and socks, but no shoes. We couldn’t figure out if he was just homeless, or if he had actually escaped from a mental institution. Why would he be in scrubs and socks but no shoes?? And his scrubs looked pretty clean for a homeless man… But I digress.
After we finished eating we went back to the boat and put in a movie. We were so exhausted that neither of us made it more than fifteen minutes in before falling asleep. About two in the morning Allison shook me awake freaking out a little bit. I was a bit disoriented at first. After a second I heard why she was freaking out. At these free downtown docks there is a lower level with the actual floating docks and right behind is a boardwalk about 5 feet above them. Standing on that boardwalk directly above our boat was a homeless man singing. Singing a song about our boat. Opera Style.
HERE THEY SIT
SLEEPING IN THEIR BOAT
WHERE WILL THEY GO
DON’T NOBODY KNOW
SOUTH OR NORTH
WHICH WAY WILL THEY GO
NO BODY KNOW
The song went on for about 10 minutes. But those are all the lyrics I can remember.
Then when his song was finished he says, “Good night” as if he was talking to a crowd at a concert, “I love you”.
Then around four in the morning. We hear a woman yelling into her phone, “I’ll cut your head off!”
She continued to yell for about ten minutes before moving further down the boardwalk. In case you are wondering- No, we don’t have a gun on the boat. We do however have a spearfishing gun and throwing stars. Why do we have throwing stars?? I’m really not sure… I think I bought them in Gatlinburg one time.
That night we were meeting up with an old friend and planned on going on a “Short evening sail”.
The weather was perfect!
The wind was just right!
We even saw mermaids and other magical sea creatures!
We sailed for about an hour and then decided to head back to the dock and go grab some food. On the way back my friend Kevin was driving while Allison and I put up the sails. We didn’t really give him any directions such as “stay inside the buoys” so we ended up running aground. Really hard aground. No big deal, I mean we paid for a Boat US membership which includes free tows whenever you need it. We called them and they said they would send someone. We had just seen a Boat US tow boat go by minutes earlier. A few minutes later they called and informed us that it would be an hour and a half before someone could get there. Then about fifteen minutes later the tow captain that was supposed to be on his way called us and said “High tide will probably get you unstuck before I get there. Just call back if you don’t get unstuck.” High tide was not until 11:30pm. About 10:00 it became obvious that high tide was not going to do anything to help us. We called him back and he finally headed out to get us.
As a side note- I know that if your an old salt out there reading this you are probably thinking “I was once stuck aground for 3 days off the coast of the Azores in gale force winds while pirate cannons were splashing all around us.” Well… My friends had to be at work at 7:00 AM and I might as well use the Boat US as much as possible to make sure I get my moneys worth.
Needless to say out “Short evening sail” turned into the pilot episode of Gilligan’s Island. We were out there for a total of six hours. And we never got dinner…
I discovered the key to happiness, skinny-ness, and possibly wealth. It’s called The Boat Diet. I can’t say I discovered it. Pirates probably did that, but they hadn’t perfected it and died of scurvy. Although not the discoverer, I can be the multi millionaire who writes a book about it, gets on Oprah, and creates an over night sensation. I mean, didn’t cavemen invent Paleo? They weren’t the ones to make money off of it though.
So here it is….
Are you feeling sluggish and stressed out?
Need to lose those few extra pounds?
What if I told you I knew the key to solving all your problems?
What if I told you that in a few short months I could have you tan, skinny, and relaxing in the sun without having to even think about working out or watching what you eat.
You too can eat this….
…yet have a body like this.
Look how tan we are!
It’s not impossible…it’s the boat diet.
First, buy a sailboat. A trawler might work but not as well. And don’t get too nice of a boat. If you’re too comfortable this won’t work. Preferably no hot water, no air conditioning, and an engine that conks out every once in awhile to keep you on your toes.
Now, quit your job, move out of your house, and onto this boat. Head somewhere warm. Not warm – hot actually. That way all you can really wear is a swimsuit so you’re constantly aware of that belly. Not in a bad way. It’ll be gone so fast, wearing the swimsuit is a good thing. Being aware will make you happy.
Oh, I forgot to mention the boat shouldn’t have a fridge, just an icebox. Now stock the boat and icebox with goodies. Wine, beer, cookies, pasta…all the stuff you couldn’t have on a regular diet but can totally have on this one.
Sounding good, right?
So off you go…to the tropics.
Heading south to hot weather…
Your boat is gonna break down a few times. There’s a workout right there…sweating on a breezeless day, squeezing into weird boat spaces, trying to get bolts off that have been in place since 1975…who needs reps with weights?
War wounds from contorting and squeezing into boat spaces that were meant for lifejackets – not humans.
Squeezing a flame arrestor onto a carburetor…aka an arm and chest workout.
Then you’ll go for a few sails. Not only will you be pulling up sails and getting another great ARM workout, but the boat will be heeled over and rocking…can you say CORE WORKOUT?
Now, anytime you want to get off the boat you have to climb a ladder and over lifelines. And if you wanna go to sleep you have to hike yourself up and into the v-berth. There are your legs for the day.
You wake up and put on your swimsuit and sweat off all your water weight all day. However, you’re also getting that tan I promised.
Navigating buoys AND getting a tan.
It’s so hot that you don’t want any beer or wine…just water. Remember how I said you could have anything you wanted…you can…you just won’t want it.
You’re so stressed out sailing, or navigating buoys, or fixing engines that you forget to eat so you grab an apple.
You have to anchor, so you pull a 30lb danforth up and down a few times – or you have to dock and literally stop an 8000 lb boat from hitting the dock with nothing but your newly found brute strength.
It’s late, you’re tired, but you’re on the ocean and there’s fresh seafood so you through some on the grill. You eat about three pieces of shrimp and more fruit because its hot and you’re tired.
The next day you wake up to do it all over again but 5 pounds lighter and with more muscle!
It is a lot of work, but eventually you’ll start relaxing and enjoying things. You’re engine kinks will start to work out, you’ll get better at docking and anchoring, and you’ll start to eat more.
THEN…you have to walk, or bike, or longboard everywhere because you don’t have a car. So, you might be able to eat pasta and have wine for dinner now…but you’ll have to longboard at least 2 miles because people are dumb and don’t put grocery stores where you need them.
Longboarding for groceries.
Aftermath of longboarding for groceries…
There it is…The Boat Diet! All you have to do is buy a boat, drop everything, and sail away….
It had been a hot minute since we’d been anywhere of any substance. Meaning – anywhere we could buy ice and coffee. That’s how we determine society nowadays. Our boat only has an icebox, and we hadn’t had ice since we left Sunbury. Between that and groceries running low we were pretty ready to be back among people even though the wild horses were good company for awhile.
We made the whopping hour trip to Fernandina Beach and picked up a mooring ball at the Fernandina Harbor Marina. This was our first mooring ball and I was nervous, but it was pretty uneventful.
We immediately freshened up and took the dinghy into town. The best part of Fernandina was the food, by far! There are a ton of places to eat. Our favorite was a little Cuban place called Hola. It was really inexpensive and DELICIOUS.
A plate full of fried goodness doesn’t look that pretty, but we all know looks can be deceiving.
They have a free concert series over the summer that was going on Friday night, so we got to see that too.
The best part of all was the fact that there was a farmer’s market (FRUIT…finally!) and ice at the marina.
We left Fernandina and headed down to Jacksonville where we are now. We have lots of fun stories on this place so stay tuned…
WARNING: We are tag teaming the post. I’ll preface each section with who wrote what. We made an agreement that we will not fix, edit, correct, or yell at each other for what the other one wrote.
We definitely decided against going ashore at Frederica. Josh was itching to move again, so we geared up for a big day of motoring down the ICW to Cumberland Island. There was still a chance of storms around, but what the heck.
We got past Jekyll Island and the sky started turning dark. St.Andrew’s Sound was coming up. There was another boat we’d followed off and on during the past two days and he seemed like he was going to go for it so we decided to as well. St.Andrew’s Sound basically cuts all the way to the ocean and then you make a sharp right turn back up into the north side of Cumberland Island. We knew the conditions could get rough but it looked like a small storm on the radar and we were making good time. The seas kept building and the winds got worse. Everything got packed away and out came the rain gear….
So Allison and I together decided that we couldn’t go ashore at Fort Frederica because the dinghy dock was completely on land except for two hours before and after high tide. We would have had to wait until 2pm and would have had to waist another day completely. On top of that we were starting to run out of provisions and didn’t want to have to travel on the July 4th.
When we got to St. Andrews sound the weather started getting rough, but, nothing too bad. Then it started getting really bad! It was just like on deadliest catch. The bow of the boat would point toward the sky then crash under the waterline. The splash would fly back to the cockpit like a Water Ride at an amusement park. There was another boat that was a couple hundred yards away from us. It was crazy seeing what was happening to us happen to another boat. The wave would lift the boat up and then it looked just like the boat would just sail into the air and drop. I tried to get Allison to give me the gopro (so I could prove that Continue reading →
After we left Sunbury Crab Company, we headed for an anchorage at Blackbeard Wildlife Refuge. We had heard good things about this stop and it would be a quick, easy day to get there.
When we arrived there were already several boats anchored. The current was really strong and the winds were blowing. We don’t really have anchoring down to an art, so we were anxious. We motored past all the boats to a good spot. I was driving, and Josh was manning the anchor because we don’t have an electric windlass.
We tried three or four times and the anchor wouldn’t bite. We switched roles and Josh motored way closer to shore which made me nervous so naturally we got over our stress and acted in total kindness toward one another. Ha! Actually we called each other names and yelled a bit. I begrudgingly dropped the anchor anyway and of course when he hit reverse it held.
I proceeded to complain about our location quite a bit. We were both a bit stressed and the anchorage wasn’t as cool as our last one.
We decided to check the weather since it was windy, and it didn’t look promising which added to our happy moods.
The next several days looked stormy and windy. The anchorage wasn’t super protected either.
We decided to skip exploring the island the next day and head out in the morning. It sort of bummed me out so now we were super awesome and kind and loving.
We went to bed with the boat swinging all around. Luckily we slept pretty well regardless after much apologizig to each other over our bad moods and cold words.
The next morning the other boats left around nine and we weren’t far behind. We had decided to go to the town of Darien. It’s about 7 miles off the ICW but they have free docks and that sounded good to us.
We made good time and pulled into Darien just after lunch. The docks were easy to use even though the current was nutso. After docking, we cleaned up and got checked in. Darien reminded me a little bit of my hometown of Headland. It definitely had that small town vibe! There were also about a gazillion historical markers so I was in heaven.
Waterfront Park in Darien, Ga
Willy on the docks in Darien
I love historical markers so much!
We walked to a super ghetto laundry mat and got that out of the way. Then we cleaned up and got dinner at a place called Skipper’s Fish Camp that was on the water downtown. It was delicious!!!! The blackened shrimp was pretty much heaven.
We called it a night pretty early after walking around the town and the docks a bit.
Dinner in Darien.
The next morning we grabbed breakfast at a little cafe called The Purple Pickle. The owner was the nicest and introduced us to the dockmaster and his wife who were super awesome. They let us know that the wine bar would give us a complimentary drink! Free anything makes me happy bit free docks AND wine was just too much.
Later, we took the longboards about a mile down the road to Fort King George historic site. The rangers were really mesmerized by the fact that we longboarded there. It made me feel sort of bad ass but if they had seen me going all of a quarter mile an hour while simultaneously freaking out the entire mile my cover would have been blown.
Tabby ruins in downtown Darien
Fort King George
In the museum.
The fort is just a remodel of what it would have looked like back in the day, but I can be nerdy about history so I enjoyed it. We sat through the cheesy film and everything. Did you know that Darien, Ga was settled by Scottish Highlanders? I didn’t until the cheesy film told me so.
Scottish Highlander house
Cemetery at Fort King George.
On the way back to the boat we bought some fresh shrimp for dinner. There was going to be live music at the park we were docked at, so we wanted to eat on the boat.
After cleaning up, we walked to the wine bar for our free drinks. This place was adorable! After the wine, we both got a beer and listened to their live music. There was a gentlemen at the bar with a Bama cap on and I was really trying to refrain from yelling Roll Tide across the bar. I mean, it wasn’t a sports bar it was a fancy wine bar. After the wine though, it was getting harder to control myself so I walked over to finally get it out of my system. We basically became immediate best friends. He was a council member and he gave me his card along with permissible to stay in Darien as long as I wanted.
FREE wine at the wine bar.
After he gave us a history lesson. On Darien, we decided to go make dinner and listen to the band downton.
It was such a picteuresque night. The past two weeks have involved less and less engine work and more seafood and wine. I am a fan. Although I don’t mind knowing my way around an engine, I’d rather learn it later. Like when I am not dependent on the engine daily and when its not located I’m the middle of my living space.
I really didn’t want to leave Darien. It was too easy and too free. But we did move on. We want to do more offshore but the weather isn’t cooperating.
We headed down the ICW to the Ferederica River. It wasn’t super far, but we had to time it all right with currents and tides which is a huge pain in the ass. There was a narrow and shallow cut we had to get through. I read horror stories about how bad it was. Deemed “the single worst stretch of the icw” Little Mud River was giving me a headache already. It’s these twisty, scary, shallow stretches that make people go offshore and swear that Georgia is a place to be avoided. To add to my nerves the weather was predicted to be stormy and there was a patch of storms headed our way.
Honestly, Little Mud River was no big deal. Like…not at all. Once you get the hang of how rivers shoal in the currents it makes it easier to find deep water if things get shallow and don’t match up with the charts. Also, I read somewhere to think.of yourself like a barge and don’t take close turns. That helped too.
Right as we were coming out of Little Mud River, the sky got really dark and we could see the rain coming. There wasn’t a good place to anchor so we decided to press on.
We shut all the hatches and put on our rain gear. I stayed inside making sure things stayed dry and that we were on course since we use our laptop.
The lightning popped close enough to make Josh nervous but we crossed paths with a fee other boats who were pushing through so we knew we weren’t crazy.
Braving the storm
Luckily, it was a short lived storm and we came out on the other side fairly quickly and pretty close to the Frederica River. It was also nice because it cooled everything off!
We motored on down the river to Fort Frederica. Honestly, its a little underwhelming from the water. Tomorrow we might go to shore if we ha e time and do some exploring…we’ll have to see!
Last time we posted, we were docked next to a dead guy.
Finally, things are working out and the last few days are what we thought this summer would be like all along. We’ve had a few more bumps in the road, but nothing like stewing in corpse fumes on a boat with a broken engine.
We finally left Turner Creek. We ended up being there a week. First, we had alternator issues that my Dad helped us resolve. We woke up ready to leave, and the boat would crank up and then die as soon as Josh let off the key. We checked EVERY electrical component we thought it could be, and nothing made a difference. Finally, we dismantled the carburetor and cleaned it out some even though it didn’t look THAT gunky to my super professional eye.
Anyway, we put it back together and it worked so I’m not going to question it.
We had decided to run offshore for a change. The ICW is a narrow waterway that connects sounds and rivers so that you never have to see the ocean. That is not what sailboats were made for, right? Josh was excited, I was nervous.
We made it out of the Wilmington River and into Wassaw Sound. I had read a million blogs and reviews about this sound…all of which said “get local knowledge” because there are shifting sand bars. The guy who ran our marina said, “It’s pretty straightforward.” We went for it.
As we left the sound, the waves (which were forecasted for 3-4 feet) were about 6 feet and rolling. We bounced around and I was beside myself with nerves. I devoted myself to looking for buoys through the binoculars for a distraction. Luckily, it was a pretty straightforward route to the sea and once we got out of the sound the seas evened out a bit.
Right when I started feeling really good, Josh started feeling really bad.
Those rolling seas got to him and he proceeded to puke up all his breakfast.
Once he got that over with, he felt better and we hoisted the sails and turned south.
We ended up making really great time and I did enjoy getting to actually sail in the ocean. It was sort of surreal.
We made it to St.Catherine’s Sound and sailed our way inside. We were almost to the anchorage in Walburg Creek and started letting the sails down and getting things ready to crank up the engine…guess what?
The engine gave us problems.
Basically the choke had to be pulled all the way out for it to run and the choke wire is messed up and you can’t pull it from the cockpit.
So, Josh had to get down there and keep it pulled out while simultaneously watching the laptop screen and navigating me through the creek to our anchorage.
We made it though and parked the boat in the most gorgeous setting we’ve seen yet.
Excuse the crazy hair.
On one side of us is an undeveloped island and the other side is a gorgeous marsh. A lot of people don’t like the stretch in Georgia, but it really is beautiful to us. There were dolphins EVERYWHERE. They’d swim right next to the boat.
I don’t care who you are – seeing a dolphin never gets old. It’s exciting every time. If you disagree, well then we’d never be friends and you should probably not read our blog.
We were planning on getting up the next morning and trekking onward, but slept a little late and really needed to resolve our engine issues.
We started what is becoming all too familiar and broke out the tools to fix the Atomic 4. We knew it wasn’t getting enough fuel so we took apart the carb AGAIN thinking that maybe something didn’t get sealed up well and there was an air leak. In the meantime, Josh tried sucking gas up the fuel line and realized something was blocking it. So, he just blew through it instead, we put it all back together, and it wall ran fine. I think our fuel tank which was running low on fuel got tossed around in the seas. Who knows what sort of crud needs to be cleaned out of there since we haven’t installed the fuel filter that is sitting on the boat. Alas, we’re not going to worry about it too much.
We read in the Skipper Bob guide that you can take your dinghy down the creek to the beach on the point of the island and do some exploring through a “tree graveyard”. So, out came the dinghy. We packed up a picnic and headed over. The beach is pretty desolate and really beautiful. There are these old dead trees everywhere.
The trees were worn down like this from the tides.
While exploring we noticed all sorts of weird animal tracks on the beach – more on that later.
I was feeling really good about finally getting to do some relaxing on a beach. Josh even got to swim about 20 feet from these dolphins who were playing in the water.
Yet again, we’d planned on making a big run down the coast. We were going to have to wake up early and make it to Brunswick, Ga for gas. We knew we were getting low. This seemed like a stressful idea, so we made another plan.
There was a little restaurant/ marina called Sunbury Crab Company about 6 miles off the ICW in St.Catherine’s Sound. We decided we’d head there instead.
So, we got up and made the not so grueling trek to the marina where we are currently docked. This place is the bees knees.
It’s a family run place. The owners live next door to the the restaurant and let us use their pool! We splurged and got dinner here. Apparently this place was in Coastal Living Magazine recently as one of the top 22 Seafood Dives and I can see why. First of all, they have “cocktail hour” for boaters which translated to free wine or beer. We also got a bucket of crabs and a lesson on how to eat them properly. The food was amazing! This place has that comfortable atmosphere that Josh and I love. A lot of the marinas on the way seem rather stuffy. This definitely wasn’t like that at all.
Eating crabs at Sunbury Crab Company.
This place is the best! Sunbury lit up at night.
Also, the owner here told us a little bit more about St.Catherine’s Island that we had explored. It turns out that the island has a really cool history and there is a plantation on there that used to be owned by Button Gwinnett who was an original signer to the Declaration of Independence. Now, the island is run by New York Zoological Society and is used for research…aka there are tons of crazy animals on the island. Apparently they raise endangered mammals there which explains the crazy animal tracks on the beach. However, we totally didn’t explore as much as we would have had we known we could stumble upon gazelles or lemurs. There’s also some really cool history involving Spanish missions that used to be on the island.
There are some other boaters here who told us not to pass up Blackbeard Wildlife Refuge on Sapelo Sound. I had originally wanted to go there anyway, so we’re going to head there tomorrow sometime.
We’re feeling super happy now that our bellies are full of fresh crab and we’ve had a few days of good sailing and nice anchorages. Hopefully things keep going well, because we’ve only got eight and a half weeks before we head off to Haiti!
The past few days have been pretty frustrating and exhausting. I guess I can’t complain too much though. I mean we ARE living on a sailboat, sleeping whenever we feel like it, and don’t have to deal with the pressures of having a job. It’s only fair that we have to deal with working on engines sometimes.
After we replaced the voltage regulator on the alternator we cranked the engine and it started right up. The next morning we were planning on leaving and the engine would rev up like it was about to start and then die as soon as I would let go of the key. My first thought was that it was probably electrical. We had been having other problems with the ignition switch anyways and I thought that maybe it had just finally kicked it. Allison and I decided to take the bus to West Marine to get the stuff to replace the ignition switch and wiring. We took the bus and didn’t get back for six hours. I guess one or more of them had broken down. By 10pm we had finished installing the new ignition switch and realized that it fixed the problem that we were having with it before, but it still wouldn’t start.
The next day I hotwired it thinking that bypassing some of the other connections might help. It didn’t. In fact, somewhere in the process of trying to get it started I burned up the condenser. So I decided to take the bus to the auto parts store to get a new condenser.
I waited at the bus stop for an hour and a half. It never came. So, I walked/ jogged (in flip flops) the 9 mile round trip to Napa. When I got there the guy looked through tons of parts for about 15 minutes and finally told me that he didn’t have one. The door was in the process of closing behind me when I hear the guy yell “Hold on bud”. He walks to the back again and comes out with the 8 dollar part that I needed.
After replacing that I still had the issue of the boat starting and dying as soon as I take my hand off the key. Turns out that it was not an electrical issue at all. The next day I took the carburetor apart and cleaned it really well. It was a little gummed up. After I did that it started up right away. We really should install that fuel filter….
We plan on taking off tomorrow and going offshore outside the inner coastal waterway for a bit. It sounds a lot more pleasant than trying to go through Hell’s Gate.
Also it is a “Supermoon” right now so the tides are crazy.