I am back home much sooner than expected. No, not because I broke a mast like last year. The trip just went much quicker than I had envisioned. Good weather, good wind. I had been thinking in terms of sounds as distance, I thought passing two sounds in a day would be good. Instead I crossed up to four sounds in a single day.
I found myself much more aware of the tides and currents than I was last year. Sometimes I was able to use them to my advantage, sometimes they worked against me. On a single day - I hope to do a post on just this topic - I would deal with multiple tides on sounds and the creeks/rivers that connect the sounds, sometimes simply turning a corner to find a distinctly different tide. It was fascinating.
I had been having an internal debate, particularly the night before launching, as to how much exploring and/or visiting places out of the way on the trip down the ICW. I decided to pass by several of the potential stopping places, I simply wanted to find my way south on this trip. This is one of the reasons I finished earlier than expected. Next winter I will do the sail with plans to make several stops along the way.
All the gear worked very well. New rigging, blocks, tiller and new mini-pad (with Navionics app for navigation) proved to be reliable.
My favorite stretch of sailing was south from Beaufort to the southern tip of Cumberland Island. Miles and miles of beautiful marshes with sounds and interconnecting creeks. Very little boat traffic this time of year and I found I had much of the waterway to myself.
I did learn that in the state of Florida everyone owns a power boat, and apparently those powerboats can only be used at full throttle. Passing through Jacksonville I can't tell you how many people in powerboats pass by with a friendly wave.....and then left me to deal with a 2+ foot wake.
The St. Johns River south of Jacksonville was a missed opportunity. I had not researched the river well, I had simply thought of it as a way to get to a marina and a train station in Palatka. An email from Mary Lou on the next to last day of the trip told me about several places to stop and explore on the river. Next year I will look at the river in a completely different way.
Hopefully daily logs will begin in about a week.