Tuesday, May 31, 2011

2nd Overnight Passage

We left from Fernandina Beach after two nights in the mooring field and a visit with Roy, one of our fellow cruisers from the Bahamas.  Roy was the solo sailor who developed pneumonia in the Exumas and spent a night on our boat after receiving hydration fluids at the local clinic.  He returned to the US after that and has just in the past week felt totally recovered.  What a surprise to receive three engraved towels from Roy, one saying "High Spirits, the hospital ship".

The weather was perfect for our overnight passage of 30 hours to Charleston with one to two foot waves and 8 to 15 knot winds.  We had a great sail most of the first day, with motor sailing the rest of the way.  I have included sunset and sunrise photos, about all we saw in 2 days, except for 3 tanker ships passing across our path about 2am.  The stars were amazing and just as the daylight was appearing the sliver of a moon rose above the sea with two planets close by.  I never thought too much about the continental shelf off the coast until we were thirty miles offshore and in only 50 feet of water.  While in the Bahamas in the Tongue of the Ocean, only 2 miles offshore, we were sailing in 8000 feet of water.  Both of us got about 4-5 hours of sleep, enough to feel pretty good after arriving, so that we were able to meet up with Peggy and Dave from the boat Journey, friends we met in the Bahamas.

This is a great place to be for the next week, as the Piccolo Spoleto Festival runs from May 27 to June 12.  Spoleto is an Italian village noted for it's arts and Charleston has run this since 1979, using Piccolo for meaning small art events that take place throughout the city over a two week period.  Events range from art fairs, dance, poetry, theatre, film, all kinds of music and children's programs.  Today, Joe and I went to see the free 1964 movie, Charade, at the library, starring Cary Grant, Walter Matthau, and Audrey Hepburn. Then we stopped at the art show in the park, and finished up after supper back at the library at a lecture on aging, Alzheimer's, and the arts, given by a geriatrician.  Thursday night we have tickets for a Jazz cruise in the harbor.


Friday, May 27, 2011

Travelling North out of Florida

.Hello Everybody

We are travelling north and just left St. Augustine early on Friday, May 27 to travel 61 miles to Fernandina, Fl. Fernandina is the last stop on the ICW in Florida.  From there we have to make a choice regarding getting Joy to Charleston, SC before next Friday so she can go to her reunion.

choice 1)  go outside, and sail from Fernandina to Charleston, SC.  165 miles but depends on the ocean conditions in terms of storms, wind direction, and wave heights.  Storms are forecast for the weekend.  This is a 29 hours sail, ie overnight.

choice 2) out outside to Brunswick, 50 miles, need good outside conditions. Park boat in Brunswick, rent a car and drive up to Charleston.  It is a 3 hours drive. Drive up on Thursday afternoon, stay overnight in Charleston.

choice 3)  continue up ICW, most likely only to Brunswick. Issues: not affected by bad ocean conditions, still might have thunderstorms, lots of bugs.  thin water on ICW, so have to go through areas at mid to high tides. Not sure as of today what tide times are.  Joy does not want to go this way again, we did it coming down.  Slow and nervous.

So that is that.

Been trying to load pictures lately,not much luck.  I have attached a picture of a float plane that landed right in front of us on the ICW.

The British returned control of St. Augustine to the .Spanish as part of the Treaty of Paris  1783.  The Spanish did not come back.  About 600-700 indentured servants (from Greece and other islands in the Mediterranean) working for this British plantation owner ( Indigo plants) decided to stay and their descendants are still the base of St. Augustine. That is why it is a very European community. 

That is it for now


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Stayed overnight in Daytona Beach

Well yesterday was an interesting day on High Spirits. We were coming up to Daytona Beach to have dinner with Rob and BG Pepper. Rob went to Exeter with me and also to MIT and also in Course 16 - Aero & Astro. I reconnected with Rob at our 45th class reunion.

Well shortly after lunch I became quite, kind of spacy and start shaking.
Turns out I had a 102.7 degree fever, which is well over my normal 96.5 o 97
degree temperature. So we had to cancel dinner. I went to the back of the boat and basically slept for 12 hours. Joy called Josh and he had a bunch of questions about my condition.

I am almost back to normal and feeling much better. Temp is down to 99.

So then today instead of motoring up to St. Augustine we decided to stay in Dayton Beach and picked up a slip at a very nice marina. Joy took the afternoon and went on the Beachside Trolley and found a chair on the beach.

I slept and also walked around the marina, I found the captain's lounge, a long walk from our dock. Perhaps I will wander over there tonight and watch the final episode of GLEE.

Tomorrow is is on to St.Augustine.


Saturday, May 21, 2011

High Spirits - Sea Trial

Well today was the sea trial for all the repairs done here at Whiticar Boat Yard.
I would give a 95% grade, everything worked properly except the new cap on the overflow tank for the cooling system was leaking at certain RPM, mainly our cruising speed of 2200 RPM.

Howie from the yard went out with us and he checked over all the systems while Joe was driving and Joy was watching Howie. So either tomorrow or Thursday, they most likely will pull the overflow tank out of the boat and give it a pressure test.

Had another physical therapy session on the left shoulder and right hip. Not as painful as the session last week. Two more sessions on Thursday and Friday. Tomorrow we are headed up to Kissimee to visit with Linda and Francis Miko plus Sophie the wonder dog. Linda is still recovering from getting hit by a car, while walking Sophie.

Plans are to leave Ft. Pierce on Saturday/Sunday and start moving north as fast as possible. Need to get to a major city so Joy can fly out on June 3rd for her Simmons College reunion.


Jazz in Fort Pierce


Just a short post today to tell everybody about the Jazz & Blues Society of Ft.Pierce. They have Jazz Jam every Tuesday night at this old restored theater in downtown Fort Pierce. It is the Sunset Theater. Sunset also has an extensive listing of concerts during the Oct to May period( that is when all the money from the North comes to Fl).

Anyway the society has a jazz ensemble which really had a nice sound(keyboard, trumpet, sax, trombone, bass(upright) and drums).

Last night was auditions by high school seniors competing for $1,000 scholarships for college. They had trombone, singer, guitar, drummer, and sax contestants. All did extremely well.

Anyway, posted this in case you end up in Ft. Pierce on a Tuesday. In the summer they play every other Tuesday.


High Spirits sailing north


Well, High Spirits passed the coolant pressure test yesterday, so we left today, Sat. May 21 and started motoring north. We got past Melbourne, and tomorrow we have a short run to Titusville. Going to met Joy's former co worker, Anna from Cleveland Cleveland Clinic, for dinner on Tuesday evening.

I have been having trouble with Blogger and have two writings stuck in the edit mode and will not post to the site. Hopefully this one does.

Had a great time with Sally and Manny down in Stuart, we were driving down from Ft. Pierce and staying at their friend's, Chris, house.

Joy is making her plane reservations for Simmons reunion, June 3-5. She will be flying out of Charleston, SC, so we have to be there by June 2. Should be able to make it with no problems as long as the weather does not get ugly. We are going to go offshore from the top of Florida over to Charleston. It is a 30 hour sail, we just did a 19 hour one from the Bahamas and it was not too bad.

Posting a variety of pictures. The pictures of what looks like pastry is actually pastry for DOGS. Found this doggy bakery in Kissimee when we had lunch with Linda and Francis Miko plus Sophie.

Bye for now


Monday, May 16, 2011

Repairs are Done

Well today is May 16, Monday, about 2pm. This morning we went to the second to the last space shuttle launch at 8:56 am. Because of the cloud layers, we only saw about the first 10 seconds of the flight but it was very impressive. Attached are some pictures of the launch plus the crowds of people at this state park that we found on US 1.

We had gone down to Melody's house yesterday after they came up to see Sally and Manny's new house. The new house is about 95% complete.They should be moving in soon. We all had lunch together and then we went down to Vero Beach to stay over night with Melody and Hank. Melody looks great, she ad quad bypass heart surgery last month along with a left side carotid artery clean out. She is back to playing bridge again, and just got back from a week's vacation in Aruba.

Tim has finished all the repairs on High Spirits and tomorrow morning is a sea trial to make sure everything is working. The plan is to leave Ft. Pierce on Saturday, weather permitting, and start heading up north.

Wednesday we are having dinner with Francis and Lindo Miko along with Sophie their dog. Linda is recovering from being struck by a car while walking Sophie. She was badly bruised but no broken bones.

So that is it for now. More after the sea trial.


Friday, May 13, 2011

High Spirits - Ft.Pierce,FL

Hello Everybody

A lot has happened since the last posting. We sailed back from Great Sail Cay with about 15 boats overnight and ended up in Fr. Pierce, FL. Having some boat repair work while we are here.

Joy took off to Hyatsville, MD to visit Jen, Mark, Erin and Adam as well as a visit to Baltimore to see Josh and Rachel. Joy had a delightful 5 days with them. I flew up to my Exeter 45th Class of 1966 Reunion and had a great time seeing a lot of my old classmates.I also was able to go up to the house in New London, had to get some clothes to wear to the Reunion.

We returned to FL on Tuesday, May 10. While we were gone we had some major and minor boat work done by Whiticar Boat North. High Spirits got a new heat exchanger, had the engine aligned, new valves in the forward head, found the reason for the odors in the front head, new red/green deck running lights, and a few other minor stuff. Have not gotten the bill yet, but I am sure it will be fair.

So while High Spirits is in Ft. Pierce, Joy and Joe are in Stuart, FL living in one of Sally's friends house. Sally and Manny are moving soon so we are helping them out. Also Joy chipped a front cap, so that has to be replaced on Thursday, May 19.I finally was able to get some physical therapy for my left shoulder and will have four sessions and a list of exercises to do after we leave. Shooting to leave on Saturday, May 21. Gives us 10 days to get out of Florida for insurance purposed. Should be no problem.Might even go outside to save time and struggling through the ICW in Georgia where there is always a water depth issue on the ICW.

So that is an update. Sorry no new pictures today, perhaps some tomorrow


ps We have a car and may drive up to watch the shuttle launch on Monday, May 16

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Back in the USA

We sailed into Ft Pierce inlet in Florida on Tuesday afternoon, ending our first Bahamas trip successfully. Leaving Green Turtle Cay finally on Sunday, we had a beautiful fifty mile sail in 20 knot breezes to Great Sail Cay which is a launching point for boats returning to the States. Great Sail is uninhabited, but has a large safe anchorage for boats to wait until a good weather window to cross the Gulf Stream. There were about 35 boats overnight there as there had not been an opportunity for the past week to cross and many were waiting.

While at Great Sail there was much discussion on the VHF among boaters as to the best time to get going, with 2 conference calls on Monday. The wind was still quite strong, possibly causing the Gulf Stream to be a bit uncomfortable, but there was also a cold front due to reach FL on Wednesday.

There was also an example of the special assistance that boaters provide to each other. There was an older couple on their boat who had significant problems, ranging from engine over heating, a broken chain plate, and lost refrigeration. A mechanic boater went over and fixed their overheating problem, others were offering spare chain plates, and others, food if they needed it. We could hear all of this over our VHF radio, and it was an amazing display of people helping people, which is what it is all about.

At sundown on Monday at least 15 boats left in a flotilla to make our way during the night across the Bahama Banks to the Gulf Stream which we would reach at about 8am on Tuesday. This was the first night crossing for us, but not for most others. It was amazing to see all these boats with raised sails leaving just at sunset. Joe and I took turns at the wheel while the other napped off and on. Some boaters have scheduled watches, three hours on, three off, but we just played it by ear and easily fell into about 2.5 hour stretches.

With a new moon the only light as we sailed through the night was lights from the other boats. It was a little eerie and disorienting after my first nap to come up from below and be in pitch blackness with some boat lights off in the distance. The farther along we went, the more spread out the boats became, which actually made it easier to sail. We were in radio contact throughout the sail, often hearing conversations between boaters or calling to boater friends ourselves. It was very comforting to have friends checking on how we were doing, especially with our history of engine overheating.

The biggest question in our minds was whether our engine coolant system, temporarily fixed, would work sufficiently enough to prevent engine overheating. With the wind directly on our stern and needing to sail 115 miles before landfall, we would need to run it. I went below about every hour for the first three to check, as well as Joe watching the temperature gauge like a hawk. I found one small leak which was readily fixed with some tape and another clamp and after 20 hours of engine running we were in Ft Pierce where we will keep the boat at the Harbortown Marina for repairs over the next 10 days.


Sunday, May 1, 2011

Leaving Green Turtle Cay

It is Sunday morning, about 7 am. We are having oatmeal for breakfast and plan on leaving GTC at 8 am. There are at least 8 boats leaving today to catch up with 2 that left yesterday. Everybody has gotten the urge to get home. Some people will be going to Stuart, FL, other to Ft. Pierce( our destination).

Spent the last couple of days just getting ready to go. Had dinner with David and Peg Shakke. David's family was down for the week in one of the villas. In fact, David's father, John, taught at MIT in Course 1, Civil Engineering, while I was there.

Joy and Faune of Iolite spent Friday morning exploring New Providence, the name of the town on Great Turtle Cay. We had dinner with Alex, Faune, Gary and Janet at the Bluff House Marina, across the sound from GTC. Both marinas had a deal where you got food credits up to your dock age fee, which means we basically ate for free while we were here. The alternative was to get a mooring out in the harbor, and eat on the boat. Joy calls this past week my VACATION WEEK, and now it is back to normal life.