December 1st – 2nd, 2020 – – – CAROLINA BEACH
The front howled for a few days before finally settling down. The cold set in here, and we stayed on our boat for the remainder of the time in Carolina Beach.
December 3rd, 2020 – – – SAILING OUT OF CAPE FEAR
We woke up early this morning to see that almost half of the others in the mooring field and nearby anchorage had already gone – always a worrying sign. Quickly, we got our route uploaded to the plotter and untied our lines from the mooring ball. Not even half a mile away is the bridge over Snows Cut. It was here we realized why many people had left so early… the current was absolutely ripping through this river. It was all we could do to keep our boat pointing in the direction we wanted. What’s worse, is this river is known for having many moving shoals and for being very narrow. Fortunately, we made it through with no bad events. We left the area by exiting out of the infamous Cape Fear, which was perfectly uneventful. We had amazing wind the entire time, and this was our first sail where we were able to sail port to port without any use of our engine – an exceptional feeling! It was another overnighter from Cape Fear to Charleston.
December 4th – 8th, 2020 – – – AGAIN TO CHARLESTON
We arrived to Charleston early this morning, and went back to the Charleston Harbor Marina where we stayed the last time we were here. It was nice to arrive to a place that you were very familiar with. Since we stayed such a long-time last time, we knew all the streets well and where our favorite places to visit were. We ate at Vicious Biscuits too many times to count, and very happily so. A front came through with winds up to 40 knots, and were very happy of our decision to get a slip in a marina for it. After the blow, I hand sowed the starboard side of the bimini where it’s been steadily ripping throughout our sail south. Coincidentally, an article I wrote for Latitude & Attitudes, about our escaping to Charleston from Tropical Storm Bertha, was published while we were in Charleston, and we picked up a copy at Barnes and Noble!
2,149 NAUTICAL MILES SAILED
December 9th, 2020 – – – CHARLESTON ANCHORAGE
We left the marina today and anchored right beside it, which also happens to be right in front of the large navy ship. At night the ship lit up with all kinds of strung up lights, it felt like we were on a movie set. The front has passed, allowing us to wiggle our way out of the marina and wait in the nearby anchorage for tomorrow morning.
December 10th, 2020 – – – SAIL TO ST. MARY’S INLET
We left Charleston early this morning, just as the sun was rising. It is still cold as all heck out, especially in the mornings. But by the time we get to St. Mary’s Inlet tomorrow, oooh its going to be 70 degrees instead of 30! We have a 27 hour sail ahead of us. We don’t have much wind at all, so we have been motoring the entire way. Our friends that we met in The Bahamas are also anchored where we are headed, and we hope to get a chance to meet up with them. As the sun began to set, we got a radio call from a nearby sailboat that has been by our side since Charleston. They are worried about the heavy fog that is to be rolling over us this evening, and we will all be checking up on each other throughout the night.
December 11th, 2020 – – – ARRIVING TO CUMBERLAND ISLAND
We made it to St. Mary’s Inlet! The fog last night did come in, and we had a few hours where it was difficult to see, but luckily everyone managed alright. We arrived at the inlet early, so we bobbed around for a while, engine off. We had coffee and watched the sun rise as we just floated on top of the water. Once the current in the inlet was more to our liking, we headed in – though there was still a 4 knot current going against us (we heard the current here was rough, but dang!). We went north towards Cumberland Island and anchored right beside our friends. Rolling in and waving hello to each other from our boats was such a warming feeling. We slept the entire day, as is our usual custom when we do overnight sails.
2,342 NAUTICAL MILES SAILED
December 12th, 2020 – – – VISITS WITH OLD FRIENDS
Later this afternoon we went took our dinghy to Cumberland Island, an absolutely beautiful 17 mile long island turned park, where we met up with Matt, Lucy, and their sweet dog Chelsea. Together we walked around, awed at the dunes, explored the ruins, and tossed Chelsea’s chew toy along the beach.
December 13th, 2020 – – – SWITCHING TO FERNANDINA ANCHORAGE
This morning we worked on the boat some, as there is always little projects to accomplish. We went for a quick walk on the island before getting our boat ready to move anchorage. A front is coming tomorrow, and our current anchorage leaves us completely exposed to the north wind. The new anchorage is in Fernandina Beach, and right in front of a very unsightly (and smelly) paper mill. We went in to town this evening and walked around. If it weren’t for the two awful mills sitting right on top of this town, we would seriously consider moving here someday. We met up with our friends again and went out for some much awaited for pizza!
2,349 NAUTICAL MILES SAILED
December 14th, 2020 – – – WALKING FERNANDINA
Stayed in our boat today, working on videos and writings. Later this evening we went in to town, looking at Christmas lights throughout the downtown and neighborhoods.
December 15th, 2020 – – – DRAGGED AT ANCHOR
We were startled awake at 2:30 am by our anchor alarm. We dragged about 60 feet. We ran up on deck, were ready to pick up our anchor and reset, our snubber was even already off, when we realized our anchor must have reset itself and we were no longer dragging. The wind was howling all night, well over 30 knots. Our boat does not like contradicting wind and current, and this is exactly what we found ourselves in. We stayed on our boat throughout the day. It was a bumpy ride, but thankfully calmed down long before it was expected to.
December 16th, 2020 – – – SAVING A STRANDED SAILOR
We spent another day in the Fernandina anchorage, with no other dragging woes. Just before noon, we were filling our main diesel tank with diesel from our jerry cans, when we were yelled at by a man standing on the bow of a nearby anchored sailboat. I had seen the man standing on his bow for some time, but assumed he was analyzing is anchor situation. We realized soon enough he was yelling for help and yelled back. He told us his kayak had floated away the day before and he has no way of getting back to shore. We finished pouring the diesel and prepped our dinghy to get the man off his boat. As we made our way to his vessel, I noticed the poor guy was standing there in a tshirt while it was 40 degrees out. On the dinghy ride back to shore the man told us all about his overnight adventure of being stranded on his own boat. He came to check in on his boat during the front, when he apparently did not tie up his kayak well enough as it had floated away when he was ready to leave. Since it was already night, he decided to stay on the boat and try to leave the following morning. It got so cold inside his boat, and he had no extra clothes or even blankets on board, that he brought his grill from outside indoors and heated himself up by burning his remaining propane with his grill. He had no food and no water. He was relieved to have seen us out that morning, and let us know his mission for the day was to buy himself a new dinghy this afternoon.
December 17th, 2020 – – – COULDN’T RESIST CUMBERLAND ISLAND
We left our Fernandina anchorage to move north again to have some more time visiting Cumberland Island. While walking around the ruins, we finally saw our first wild horse! Unfortunately we couldn’t stay on the island too long, as a storm was rolling in. I can’t wait to come back again and have ample time to explore the island – it is a must see!
2,356 NAUTICAL MILES SAILED
December 18th, 2020 – – – ON TO JACKSONVILLE
We left our Cumberland Island anchorage this morning and motored down the ICW to Jacksonville. It was a nice ride, and very short. We arrived to the public docks in Jacksonville by noon. I had no idea there were public docks sporadically placed on the ICW. I highly recommend using them for a night. We were the first boat there, and for the rest of the evening we delighted in playing deck hands as other vessels rolled in.
2,386 NAUTICAL MILES SAILED
December 19th, 2020 – – – NEAR CATASTROPHE IN ST. AUGUSTINE
We were the first ones to leave the public dock in Jacksonville this morning. It was a lovely ride all the way to St. Augustine. However, we almost had an incident in the St. Augustine inlet. What I assume was a dredger was taking up the entire channel, with its bumper spanning out even wider. There was a lot of current taking us right towards the dredger, all while we are trying to figure out how in the world to get around it since anything else was too shallow for us. To make matters worse, the plotter on our GPS was suddenly not pointing us in the correct direction at all, making understanding where we were on the map even more confusing. Brian made a quick decision to pass on the outside of the red marker, so close we were practically touching it, and cut in behind the fenders. It. Was. Stressful. After that, it was like a rainbow after a bad storm. The sun was shining, the water in the inlet was so blue, and you could see the fort and downtown St. Augustine in perfect view. We hailed the Bridge of Lions and passed under it’s opened bascules, and filled up with diesel in the marina before finding our mooring ball. Once situated, we went in to town for some take out. We were utterly shocked at how many people were in the city; it is the busiest either of us had ever seen it. St. Augustine was hosting their annual tradition of “Night of Lights”, a month long event where the entire town is covered in Christmas lights. I couldn’t believe so many people still wanted to travel and congregate during this covid era, and was appalled to see the vast majority not wearing masks.
2,425 NAUTICAL MILES SAILED
December 20th, 2020 – – – LOVING THE MOORINGS
We decided to stay another day in the mooring field. The front we were hunkering down for is still sticking around; instead we will leave tomorrow.
December 21th, 2020 – – – WRONG BRIDGE MEASUREMENTS
We left the St. Augustine anchorage by 8am. It looked dark and stormy out, but all of our resources were assuring us it would clear up soon and be a perfect day for travel. Luckily it was true, and the black skies cleared up for a beautiful day on the ICW. As we were traveling south, I realized we were passing through Palm Coast and quickly texted an old friend, who lives on the ICW, in hopes that we could pass by each other. It was absolutely perfect timing! Just as we were passing the trail to their home, I see her three sweet little kiddos running out from the woods and vigorously waving. A very sweet moment, and so happy I got to see them, even if from afar. As we were about a quarter mile from our evening’s anchorage, we came upon an obstacle. One of Daytona’s bridges read 62 feet clearance – it wasn’t even high tide, how could this be?! We anchored near the bridge and read up on the bridge. Apparently, the measurements are incorrect, and when it reads 62 feet it is actually 64 feet. We creeped under the bridge and sure enough, we went under without even bumping our antenna. Even through the evenings clouds, we were able to see a glimmer of the planets alignments and view the “Christmas star”.
2,480 NAUTICAL MILES SAILED
December 22nd, 2020 – – – ARRIVAL IN COCOA VILLAGE
We left our Daytona anchorage early this morning. We passed by these buddy boaters that we had passed by the previous day while waiting to pass through a bascule bridge. The boaters were basically bullying the bridge to open by coming up so closely to it while it was still closed; the tender had to tell them to stay back. Strangely enough, when the bridge opened, the boats just sat there… in the middle of the channel of the opened bridge! Again the tender hailed them and shouted for them to pass through. They did, very very slowly. We traveled through today without incident, and made it to a very familiar area, our homeport of Cape Canaveral. We passed through and anchored near the Cocoa village, where we were accompanied by about 20 other derelict boats. On the nearby land we spotted a public dock that was full, but we knew to have our eye on it for tomorrow morning. The strongest front yet was to arrive the following day, and being tied to a dock would be a much better scenario than being surrounded by uninhabited boats.
2,546 NAUTICAL MILES SAILED
December 23rd, 2020 – – – SCORING A SPOT ON THE PUBLIC DOCKS
We woke up early and low and behold, one spot opened up on the docks! We rushed over there and tied up. Our keel must have been scrapping through muck as our depth was reading 5’7”… our keel IS 5’7”… but that area of the river is known to be layered with a few feet of muck.
December 24th, 2020 – – – VISITS FROM FRIENDS
Today we were visited by friends; in fact, they are the ones who married us. They brought their two daughters, and we had the best time with them. We were nervous about a trawler that was anchored so close to the dock. The owner threw out an anchor with his hands, then left and never returned. With strong south winds expected to come, it seems possible he might drag right in to us.
December 25th, 2020 – – – CHRISTMAS
We spent Christmas on the docks today. I made a heaping amount of french toast and we lounged around together. The front has turned out to not be so bad, and we’re unsure if it is because we’re in a protected area, or if it just didn’t live up to its predictions. The wind has shifted, and the anchored boat next to us is no longer a worry. We had another visit with friends from our old marina tonight, and it was great to see them. Later in the evening, I got to have Christmas zoom call with my family – it was good to see everyone!
December 26th, 2020 – – – JENSEN BEACH
We left early this morning, just as the sun was showing some light over the horizon. Todays travels were long, and it took us until dusk to get to Jensen Beach. We had planned to anchor the south of the bridge, as there was a strong blow over night coming from the north. When we arrived, however, we found the accumulation of derelict boats we saw last year had all left and were replaced with mooring balls. We googled for the marina, but the website wasn’t working, and there was no number to call. Only one other ball had a boat on it, so… we tied up and continued trying to contact someone but with no avail.
2,630 NAUTICAL MILES SAILED
December 27th – 31st 2020 – – – FINALLY IN LAKE WORTH
After two months of traveling and hunkering down for cold fronts, we finally arrived in Lake Worth! It feels good to be here, because we know the next time we move it will be Bahama bound – and that is a wonderful feeling! We’ve been hanging out inside the boat, enjoying the warm weather, and planning our moves for leaving the US. We tried to run the water maker and one of our lines blew a hole in it, quite the set back, but we managed to get the part expedited to us and will be here shortly. On New Years Eve, the entire lake was surrounded by fireworks and all the mega yachts blasted their horns – it was great. Our new crew arrives in just a few days, and we are excited to officially meet them and continue on with our journeys.
2,669 NAUTICAL MILES SAILED