Day 85, Year 10: Passage to FL, Day 5—Georgia to Florida
Date: Saturday, January 3, 2015
Weather: Partly Sunny in the Afternoon, High in the 70’s F, S Wind
Latitude: 30 40.237 N
Longitude: 081 28.147 W
Location: Fernandina Harbor Marina Mooring, Fernandina Beach, FL
Miles Traveled: 6.35 Nautical Miles

We traveled a whopping 6.35 nautical miles today, but that brought us into the state of Florida. The winds have shifted to the South and it is finally warm. We have on short sleeve shirts and shorts. Yeah! But unfortunately that is about all the good news we have today. Lee’s dinghy motor needed oil but he put too much in and had to drain some out. Some spilled in the dinghy, so that necessitated a good cleaning of our dinghy. But the oil did not solve his dinghy motor problem. He talked to the rep in California and got a couple of good ideas for further trouble shooting. The problem was identified, but Mark and Lee worked on the motor until dark trying to get it fixed. A total fix will require a part that will have to be sent from California, but there is a partial fix. We just don’t have the right tools for the job and it is taking much longer than it should. They will continue working on the motor tomorrow afternoon when we reach our Sunday destination. Mark changed the fuel in our dinghy fuel tank this morning thinking that might be our dinghy motor problem, but that wasn’t it. So we still do not have an engine. We put Lee and Lynda’s dinghy back in the water to see if yesterday’s patch job was going to stick. It did, but only for a short time. When Lee tried to put the dinghy on the back of his boat, the patch came loose and the tube deflated. Bummer. So we are back to just our dinghy with oars. We don’t mind rowing at all, but the currents here do make it difficult. With no dinghy to explore the little waterways running into Cumberland Island or to run up to the north end of the island to explore there, we decided that it was time to move on. We listened to the weather report and the forecast for going outside sounded a bit better than yesterday, but they are still forecasting five to six foot waves with occasional waves to nine feet. So we are going down the Intracoastal Waterway, at least until we get to the Cape Canaveral area. Step one of this move further south was to motor over to Fernandina Beach, Florida, to get fuel and water. We decided to take moorings for the night as the anchorage is totally exposed. Windbird and Sea Turtle are on adjacent moorings and that allowed Mark to row over to Sea Turtle so he and Lee could continue working on Lee’s dinghy motor.

When the sun went down, Lee, Lynda, and Mark rowed over to Windbird and we had dinner together here. We bitched and moaned about the difficulties we are having, but soon realized that was getting us no place. The weather is warmer and it felt great to wear a t-shirt and shorts on the 3rd day of January. That is a positive. We are closer to a fix on Lee and Lynda’s dinghy motor and we know that a good patch job will stop their leak. Now we just have to hope we can make it through the next couple of days in the Intracoastal without going aground or losing an antenna on our mast going under bridges that are not quite the full 65 feet that they should be. Mark and I just finished our planning session for the 20 miles that we are going to travel tomorrow. Between here and Jacksonville, the ICW has some very, very shallow areas and bridges that might not be high enough at high tide. High tide is around 8 am, but tomorrow’s bridge that might give us a problem with height is only 5 miles from here. We don’t want to go under right at high tide, so we will wait until 9 am to leave. That gives us only five hours until low tide, and we want to get through the lowest areas well before 2 pm. Because of shoaling, you have to stay to one side of the channel between some marks and on the other side of the channel between others. In some places, there is shoaling right in the middle of the channel. So it will be a tricky day. We made detailed notes and will work together tomorrow to negotiate this mine field. Sure hope we don’t have to call on TowBoat US.

150103 Day 85 Passage to Florida–Day 5, Cumberland Island to Fernandina Beach
Day 86, Year 10: Passage to FL, Day 6—Fernandina to Jacksonville
Day 84, Year 10: Passage to FL, Day 4—Exploring Cumberland Island