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"It's all about the people"


BCYC South 2012-13

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  • 27 Apr 2013 4:52 PM | Madi Yates (Administrator)
    • You start dodging multi-color crab pots set out in welcome for your arrival
    • Pink Flamingos turn into Blue Herons
    • Other boats are not passing you within 10 feet of your port or starboard
    • The channels are so wide and deep you can stop worrying all day about going aground
    • You can set your auto helm to the nearest 10 degrees and leave it there for hour
    • The water is smooth as glass (today), not clear as glass like in the Bahamas
    • Yellow tree pollen is floating on the water
    • The Mahi Mahi turn into Striped Bass
    • You watch closely for really fast mega tankers, fore and aft
    • The prevailing wind direction is…wait…but of course…its right on the nose
    • Your trolling fishing pole with the big lure is pretty much worthless; ditto the small lure
    • You start making lists of the things you have to do when you get back home
    • Motor sailing 74 miles to get to Solomon’s Island in one day makes perfect sense
    • You get text messages saying “Welcome Home!”
    • No one is whistling, one or two
    • Your smartphone finally works again for calls, texts and data
    • The technician calls from under your house to say the dehumidifier sounds like an airplane taking off; she is dragging it out; she thinks all the sawdust from the remodel is causing it problems and btw, you need a new vapor barrier, ugh!
    • You start making doctor appointments to replace the ones you missed for six months
    • The white and black Ospreys sitting on twig nests above the red and green channel markers peep-peep-peep as you go by
    • You don’t need think about where you are going to do the laundry, you already know
    • Hundreds of small fishing boats dot the bay; Rockfish season opened last Sunday
    • You hear that your little sports car’s battery is dead
    • The Pelicans turn into Geese, the honking kind
    • You sign up for the BCYC boating season kickoff party at the Higgis on Minnow Creek, knowing you can get there
    • The tug of home is felt more strongly than ever, vapor barrier, new car battery and all!
  • 19 Jan 2013 12:04 PM | Guy Collins

    I was testing my ability to post pictures to club emails. So I moved a picture of Shay La Mer at Wardrick Wells in the Exumas. to the Wild Aprocot site.  Someone else must have liked it because I see in on our web page.  In case you were wondering what it was.

    Cheers,   Guy Collins


    I've been thinking about some of the big lessons from our 1200 mile sojourn.  The biggest one is, no doubt, the sense of community we had as a BCYC group but also as part of the larger boating/cruiser's community.  People really try to be helpful in all kinds of ways.  And once we got to Stuart, with a large mooring field and marina crowded with people waiting for a weather window to head for the Bahamas or simply hanging out in Stuart for the winter, I realized that there was a whole other sense of community here.  Talk is incessant about where people are bound for next or where they've been or . . . of course, the schedule for the pump out boat!  It has also been interesting so see, day after day, the same people dinghying into the dinghy dock and then unloading their coolers, chairs, books, laptops, Ipads, dogs, laundry, garbage, etc.  They often fill up a dock cart and wheel it up to a general meeting area that they habitate in all day long, sometimes well into the evening.   It is like visiting a KOA campground, with lots of people simply sitting around all day visiting.

    For me, personally, the biggest lesson from our trip (aside from reinforcing the wonderful sense of community we had with our fellow travelers) was this:  the certainty of uncertainty.  Having boated for so long on the Chesapeake Bay, much of our travel there has become fairly routine -- it's mostly predictable; it's certain.  But traveling 1200 miles, during which 1150 were uncertain, gave me a whole new perspective on life afloat.  In the most sociological way, everything normative was called into question because it was so unknown -- learning to better use the chartplotter; radar; read the paper charts; dealing with current while underway and especially when docking or anchoring; every day entering places that were foreign; learning to talk on the radio in ways consistent with not only other cruisers but also tugboat captains.  The learning curve has been very steep but well worth the challenge. 

    I had kiddingly said before we left Annapolis that our trip had become like the Mt. Everest expedition and that I would plant some Tibetan prayer flags once we got there.  Time to break out the flags!!


    Spent one day on a mooring in Vero Beach, rafted with strangers in the middle and Fandango on the other side of them.  "Strange" would be a good description of the "host" boat since we never saw or met the wife and the guy was a pain.  The Vero Beach Munciipal Marina was crowded with boats -- rafting 3 to a mooring ball.  Wind was blowing hard out of the north but no one drifted.   Hiked from the marina into downtown Vero Beach, about a one mile walk.  Very nice small town with quite a few high-end stores -- 180 degrees different from Titusville.  Decided -- along with Fandango and Quaich -- that one day there was enough so left for Stuart on Nov. 29.  Strong ENE winds made for a bump ride but we were all glad to make the turn off of the ICW for the 7 mile trip into the Okeechobee (sp?) Waterway and our marina.  The water became a beautiful aqua green but then shifted back to Ches Bay looking dark brown.  We had to wait an extra 30-40 minutes for a train to pass so the bridge could open.  Captain John was there to greet Quaich; Captain Pam came to greet us, along with a deck hand and the owner of the boat behind us.   We had to squeeze into a small-looking space but it all worked out without incident. 

    A few impressions:  much of the Indian River trip is done mindful of huges signs which read "Manatee Zone".   They need to be amended to say "Manatee Free Zone."  We still haven't seen one!   Bill K thinks he saw a nose and tail.  John Y claims to have seen an entire manatee.   The rest of us?  Nada.   We have all seen hundreds, probably thousands, of dolphins.  In fact, there were some this morning right off of our boat at the dock.

    The marina is beautiful; the nicest we have seen the entire trip.  There are many, many large boats -- one over 100 feet called, honestly, "Grumpy."  There are cruisers galore waiting for the perfect weather "window" so they can depart for the "islands."  We will be departing for an island of our own next week, Turkey Point Island with its balmy 20+ degree temps!  We met a woman yesterday who said they were going across the Okeechobee bound for the Gulf of Mexico.  When we asked about their final desination, she said "Ecuador."  We feel like incredibly timid cruisers compared to all of these other people.

    Sleeping here will take some getting used to.  The marina is located right next to 1. a high rise, expressway type bridge; 2. the "old" bridge which still has a lot of traffic, day and night; and 3. the railroad bridge which we have discovered also has a lot of traffic day and night.   And while the sound of a train whistle may seem romantic and harken up visions of your youth, you don't want to hear it -- blowing 20 times! -- at 2 in the morning!! 

    Today, wash the salt off of the boat and hike into town, figuring out our new "home." 






    Had a great time in St. Augustine, another interesting, quaint coastal town – really a small city.  It was Thanksgiving weekend and there were many, many people roaming around the old city, the oldest in America.  Did a little grocery shopping; got the red/green bow running light for the dinghy; did the laundry; ate a great dinner at the Spanish restaurant “Columbia.”  Left St. Augustine on November 26 for Daytona Beach.  Anchored in the river, with Tug for Two rafted to Indy.  We were the host boat for dinner, a jambalaya that G fixed to use up some chicken breasts, Andouille sausage and a pound of shrimp; another delicious meal prepared by one of our fleet’s terrific cooks. 

    Left Daytona Beach for Titusville, near the Kennedy Space Center.  An easy trip thru miles and miles of wide open space, running endlessly in a narrow channel.  As John Loving had told us, an area that is known for being “5 miles wide and 4 feet deep”.  True.   We were continually in “minimum wake” areas known as “Manatee Zones.”   Only Indy saw one.  The rest of us saw lots of dolphins, at least we think that’s what they were.  One rumor making the rounds was that they were tay in manatees masquerading as dolphins.  In any case, lots of them.

    Titusville, from what we saw, is a kind of low-end looking town.   We bought groceries in what was the lowest of low-end grocery stores I ever saw.  It was like a way low-end Cotsco without any of the high-end stuff one might find there. 

    For us, the highlights of the stay in Titusville were these:   First, hearing the train in the night, in fact several trains, but the memorable one was at around midnight when all at once we could clearly hear rap music playing!  The only word I remember was “Mississippi.”   We both woke up and started laughing.  Second, the bigger highlight was this:  We woke up this morning WARM for the first time since we left Maryland.  First night in a month we slept under 1 blanket and woke up warm versus sleeping under 3 blankets and waking up cold.  And as a corollary, I’m now wearing shorts and some of our travelers have been spotted sans shirts and wearing bathing suits.  Hope does spring eternal. 

    Now anchored behind Merritt Island.  Tomorrow Vero Beach.   Next day, maybe Stuart.   Today’s journey included about 30 miles of straight-as-an-arrow auto-piloting the boat.   Something to see/experience.    

  • 24 Nov 2012 11:32 AM | WILLIAM W FALK GERALDINE FALK

    Departed Cumberland Island yesterday morning at around 8:30.  As for Florida, much like Sarah Palin, we could "see it from here".   The difference was . . . we could!  Before getting there, though, we saw St. Mary's, GA in the distance with what looked like hundreds of sailboat masts in its harbor.  The town has become famous among cruisers for hosting an annual Thanksgiving Day meal -- they provide the turkeys and the cruisers bring side dishes.  A wonderful statement about community, a la BCYC "It's all about the people."

    Passed Fernandina Beach, FL and started hearing a lot of chatter on the radio about shoaling, boats aground, debris in the water, etc.   Another relaxing day of cruising on the ICW!  Once again had dolphins in our wake and also, once again, saw mature bald eagles -- a great story on conservation.  No bears or alligators yet but we keep hoping.  Got to St. Augustine before dark and discovered a town fully lit up for the holidays.  From the mooring field and the marina the Bridge of Lions is a sight to see at night.  One other big thing:  the sun actually shone on us all day long!! 

    Compass Rose has headed off for the next leg of the trip.  The rest of us will follow tomorrow, bound for Daytona.  We should be in Stuart by Wednesday or Thursday. 



    Nov. 21 -- had a nice ride thru the Georgia marsh, navigating some "skinny" (viz., very shallow) water along the way.  Saw the north end of St. Simons Island where we lived briefly when I was working on Rooted in Place.  G and I used to see boats on the ICW from our breakfast window but we couldn't see our old house from the water!  Stayed "inside" (in the ICW v. going in the ocean) behind Jeckyll Island, a place made famous by the scions of American industry, many of whom built winter retreats there.  Went thru the "Umbrella Cut" to continue avoiding the ocean.   A big highlight of the day was going by the St. Marys, Ga submarine facility.  Didn't see any subs underway but did see one docked -- very menacing looking.   We all wondered how many subs are active in America's fleet.  A second highlight to the day was seeing Compass Rose already anchored by Cumberland Island.  We got anchored and dinghyed over to the island.  Walked over to the beach which has huge sand dunes and few people.  The island was given to the country by the Carnegie family, more industrial tycoons from the same era as Jeckyll Island's folks.  Tomorrow, Thanksgiving.

    Nov. 22 -- we all (4 boats worth) dinghyed over to the island and hiked and hiked and hiked.  Saw the ruins from the Carnegie's island home which had burned down in 1959 (but had no one living in it for about 40 years).  Saw wild turkeys (which were right near us), wild horses, wild armadillos, wild . . . well, you get it.  Dinghyed back in seas made rough by strong northerly winds (which had also made it impossible to get a good night's sleep).  Miraculously, the winds died so dinghying over to Quaich for dinner was painless.   Fabuous meal!   We all agreed:   we had/have much to be thankful for, not least of wll getting the privilege of owning nice boats and traveling with wonderful people. 

    Today:  finally, Florida!  We can see it from here!!!


    Presently anchored in the South River (no kidding) but not the one in Annapolis, the one in coastal Georgia, near a small town called Darien.  It’s a place that Indy learned about today from other sailors.  For now, at least, nominal current and glassy smooth.   We have all been using Ch. 68 on low power to chat.   Planned out tomorrow’s schedule and now it’s cocktail time!  Aft r worrying about the strong current and risk of dinghying around, we are all on our own hooks tonight – the one calm night we’ve had!!  Left Beaufort yesterday in slack tide but still found that getting Tug for Two turned around with a strong north wind pushing us against the pier was a project.   The day before, a 44’ Island Packet in front of us was nearly INTO US!   They, too, struggled to turn their boat and get it against the pier.  Alas, we weren’t hit. 

    We left Beaufort on yet another cold and windy day.  Went by Paris Island (where the marines go thru basic training), Hilton Head Island, Dafuskie Island and other barrier islands.   Passed live oaks with Spanish moss, more palmettos, and lots of large houses along the ICW.  Got across the Savannah River without having any issues with tugs and/or large ships and by mid-afternoon we were tied up at Thunderbolt Marina.   It’s Thunderbolt Marine which is famous.   It started out as Palmer-Johnson, the builder of large ships and especially luxury yacht.  Thunderbolt is now well known as a yard which refits yachts.  In a berth near us was “Blue Moon”, a 197’ mega-yacht with a crew of 14 – all of whom were wearing their Blue Moon t-shirts and khaki shorts.  People we met with a 37’ Nordic Tug (the parent company for our American Tug) were tied up right behind “Blue Moon.”   They truly looked tiny next to such a large ship.   The couple on it was from Syracuse, NY, on their way to the Bahamas where they had also spent last winter.   Winter in Syracuse v. the Bahamas?   Well, I’m sure this was a tough decision!

    Today we passed Skidaway Island and Isle of Hope, both of which are suburban communities for Savannah.   More very expensive houses.  The day before we passed by Bonaventure Cemetery, made famous by the book, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.  Today, we passed another famous place, Moon River – the title of the Johnny Mercer song made very famous in the film, “Breakfast at Tiffanys” – sung by Andy Williams, G and I think.  Also, btw, the name of Barbara and Dusty’s boat. 

    We were again navigating for hours thru marshy areas where not much could be seen except marsh grass.  Emerged from one river into a “sound” where “Quaich” called to tell us about swells coming in from the ocean.  Suddenly we were riding up and down some sizeable but not uncomfortable ocean waters.   Then, turned toward our next river and all was fine again.  Came by Sapelo Island, GA, a famous barrier island where the only people who can own private property are direct descendants of former slaves on the island.  The R.J. Reynolds family had a “plantation” there (long after the Civil War) used mostly for hunting and fishing; that’s at the island’s north end.  At the south end, about 70 African Americans still live in a couple of “hammocks”, areas not prone to flooding.  The state of Georgia runs a ferry to/from the island a couple of times a day, mostly to bring workers and a handful of school-age children to the mainland in the morning  and workers at the old Reynolds Plantation (now owned by the state and used as a coastal ecology center) plus some tourists.  Tourism is the big industry for local people.  A great book about Sapelo is Sapelo’s People by the historian William McFeely.  Another fabulous book about this part of the country is by William Falk, Rooted in Place.  Get out there and buy it.  This guy needs the money!

    Tomorrow, off early for the final leg of being In Georgia.   Late tomorrow, we (all) hope to be in Cumberland Island where “Compass Rose” awaits us.  It should be a memorable Thanksgiving. 

  • 21 Nov 2012 9:54 PM | John Loving
    Not so fast!!

    I know, I know, we said we were in Florida.  But today we double-backed into Georgia and anchored off Cumberland Island, GA to meet up with the rest of the BackYakkers.

    "Quaich", "Indy" and "Tug For Two" entered Cumberland Sound about 10 minutes after "Compass Rose" and all anchored off Cumberland Island.  We intend to spend Thanksgiving here very thankful of our good fortune.

    For the record, "Fandango" (Chris and Colin) continued on to St Augustine to celebrate Thanksgiving with relatives.
  • 20 Nov 2012 9:50 PM | John Loving
    Almost one month after departing Annapolis, we are finally in Florida!  Came down Cumberland Sound past the submarine pens at Kings Bay, GA and crossed into FL at 1513 (who's counting?!) and grabbed a mooring ball off Fernandina, FL.  Very cute town with a million places to eat and drink. 

    We went into town to with Chris and Colin to find a Happy Hour.
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