Day 35 MM 779
St. Augustine Municipal Marina, St. Augustine, Florida
Sunday, November 4, 2011
We spent two nights in St. Augustine a little noisier because we were right at the Bridge, but handy to town. Can you believe it, a town that size--all the grocery stores were 3 miles away. Took off later than we planned, encountered rain about a half hour out but just sprinkles did not last long, cooler than we thought but still in the 50’s. We have been very lucky with the lack of rain on travel days. But most of you know "Mr. Weather Man, John”, always checks the weather. The Florida countryside is different than Georgia; Northern Florida has some marshes but also high trees, expanses of water but no depth except on the Magenta line.
“We are one with the Magenta Line”.
In Florida, hammocks are not places to sleep in the shade, but a type of island. Like the many Eskimo words for snow, in Florida there are many words for island. The island lingo depends on the trees.
If an island is covered with hardwoods, such as live oaks or pinelands in sawgrass, it is called a hammock, or more precisely, a hummock. If the island is a mangrove or a pine, then it’s a Key. If the island is covered with willow or bay trees, it’s a head. An island of cypress is a dome.
Florida is so flat that every few inches of elevation makes a huge difference. Raise the soil a tiny bit above the waterline and the island becomes a buttonwood hammock instead of a mangrove key.
Dismal Swamp Visitors Center
Good to be under the covers warm and dry while it rained all night. Most of the other boats took off at 7 AM to make the next lock opening; the guys let me sleep in. Harmony stayed around, dumped the garbage and recycling at the visitor’s center. The crew had a nice breakfast of toast, bacon and eggs; about 10AM another boat chugged by and the bridge opened so Harmony started the engine, turned around and headed south, arriving at the south Mills Lock with a few minutes to spare. The rain started again the lock was not as pleasant as the first one.
The Dismal Swamp is straight and narrow but just beautiful with the leaves turning lovely colors of fall. Into Turners Cut twisting and winding like a snake we went in and out getting closer to Elizabeth City. About a half an hour out the rain really came down and the wind picked up. Harmony arrived in Elizabeth City rough and choppy, secured the last slip fit for Harmony at the free dock. (No amenities here). We all went to dinner early with Jim Elliott and his family, the previous owner of Harmony. Hunkered down with rain and wind all night, slept well; even Guy slept well and he had waves slapping on the stern of the boat.
Please bear with me while I learn windows 7 and a new lap top key board on a bouncing boat. Lost three days of blog yesterday and had to start over today on Thursday’s Blog. Does anyone know why I have dots between the words? Email me or call cell.
The crew was greeted with a cool but sunshiny day, more dew. Our first obstacle of the day was our neighbor’s line over ours. His line had his boat hanging from the pole (he did not allow for tide change) the jerk. (Note to self--check lines at night before shoving off in the morning). John used the Pirate Defender to pry our line from underneath; took about 3 min and Harmony was under way at 8:15. It was interesting going by all the Navy ships in the yards with some having work done on them and some just sitting there. Barges, tugs and work boats going this way and that, with snow birders chugging along. Arrived at the Gilmore Bridge only to find our information was wrong (the bridge opens every hour on the down side of the clock) 45 minutes to tool around. Thru the bridge with us went a gaggle of snow birders.
The next obstacle was the turn we almost missed, for the Dismal Swamp, then the Deep Creek lock--we arrived early and stewed around (that stewing around can be dangerous) for an hour, good time for lunch. The day turned out to be nice and a warmer one; we took of a layer off for a while. The lock was a very pleasant experience; the lock keeper and his dog were wonderful (the dog was a lab). The lock keeper gave us lots of local history also blew his conch horn for us, he is very good at that thing. (The fire only came as close as a mile away) We headed for the Dismal Swamp visitors center and found it full so rafted to a large catamaran with 6 children aboard. Never heard a peep out of them all night. The crew dined on Steak, wild rice, asparagus, salad, and cookies. The rain started in the middle of the night kept it up all night; subsided a little in the morning.
Monday, October 31, 20011
HARMONY set sail after a one day of delay; Skipper John, first mate Guy and chief cook and bottle washer Jo were under way on Monday October 31, 2011. With the wind on the nose we motored to Solomons all day. The anchor was down at 6:15 just in time for sunset. The crew thanked the Gods that provided the enclosure! Everyone enjoyed a romantic candle lite dinner for 3 of Rockfish, Shrimp, green beans and salad with homemade molasses cookies for desert. The exhausted crew retired at 10PM.
Tuesday, November 1, 20011
Harmony woke up to a chilly, sunshine day, left Solomons at 9AM, raised the sails and had following seas. Sailed for a while but after a few hours decided to motor sail to make our anchorage on time. We entered Jackson Creek with the sun going down in our eyes; it was like threading a needle. Jackson Creek is located on the south side of Deltaville, lovely spot with about 10 or so boats anchored there. The crew had a great dinner of Shay’s Chili, salad, and molasses cookies for desert. The night was quiet; the exhausted crew appreciated the very still night.
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
This lovely morning the crew and skipper too, woke to a very wet enclosure inside and out, had to get the windshield wipers (Guy and Jo working). Took off at 8:30 leaving Jackson Creek facing East with the sun in the crew’s eyes AGAIN, Harmony began threading the way out of Jackson Creek, the good news is a powerboat came by and showed us the way to the bay. What a relief to finally be in the bay and finally had a much warmer day we could take off some layers later in the day. As Harmony got closer to Norfolk it was interesting to hear young men on the radio say this is the War Ship XXX we will be going out the Cut. Harmony arrived at the Blue Water Marina, in Hampton VA, filled with fuel and took her slip. The crew walked to the nearby shopping center for forgotten items and it felt good to stretch and walk great. Showers were next order of business; even Harmony received a wash down by skipper John. Fuel for the crew at the one restaurant was appreciated, as was the warm heater in the boat because we were plugged in. A night cap and some conversation with the crew and all retired.