Tuesday, April 30, 2024

somehow it all disappears into the boat

Using the old gear checklist shared with me by Watertribe friends maybe 14 or 15 years ago.  It looks at gear in terms of systems, i.e. shelter system, cooking system, self-rescue system.  It has proven to be a good reliable list.  

Light winds and maybe afternoon rains tomorrow.  I will be content as long as I can make the drive down, rig and get on the water before the rain arrives.


Sunday, April 28, 2024

tracking url and packing day

It's packing day.  Have most the food and gear ready to go.  Today is checking the electronics, batteries, etc.  Plan to load up Tuesday afternoon and be on the road to the Pamlico River early Wednesday.  Hope to visit Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds, the Neuse River and Cape Lookout.  Tracking url is here, or copy and paste the link below.  Should go live on Wednesday.  


When creating the shared url view I can across the last couple trips on my SPOT maps.  Made me smile.

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Bahia Coco

 Arrived via car service and taxi about 1:00 pm.  This is the view from our rooftop patio.  

the volcano

last night and this morning 


Sunday, April 14, 2024

under the volcano

Morning came with a beautiful and interesting lenticular cloud over the Arenal Volcano. 

And how about a nice swim with the Pilgrim in the thermal springs that flow from the volcano. 

Some local food last night, whole fried snapper.  Excellent!


Thursday, April 11, 2024

living like a sloth

…and loving every second of it.  Having a wonderful time in Costa Rica.  Tomorrow, the volcano. 


Saturday, April 6, 2024

this trip, the next and the one after that.

The trip went quicker than had I expected.  It always does.  There were a couple places I had wanted to visit - Brunswick for one, and also the St. Johns below Palatka - but through good luck I had the chance to see a brother if I made it to Palatka by a certain date.  And it was worth missing some sailing to see him, it had been too long.

The temperatures were colder and the tides stronger than past trips.  I was pleased to find I had the gear to deal with 40 degree temperatures.  And I was surprised by the stronger tides that I found by casting off a week closer to the new moon.  

A favorite evening was one I did not intend to spend on Hilton Head.  I arrived at Skull Creek mid-morning on Sunday, Superbowl Sunday in fact, and had looked forward to seeing Webb that day and the next, leaving Hilton Head on Tuesday.  But Tuesday came with strong winds that went on longer than expected.  Webb kindly welcomed me for the extra day.  Instead of pounding into the wind and tide, we walked to Hudson Seafood for a late afternoon dinner, then spent the evening enjoying drinks and conversation on the porch.  It was very enjoyable.  

It was a treat to see Kelli across the water as she set off with her husband for a yacht delivery.  A friendly wave on the Skidaway River was perfect. ( I am probably at my best when taken in small doses, and from a distance.)

A birthday on Lincoln Creek, filling in the logbook as I enjoyed a couple of Red Stripe beers, made me smile.  I am in the second half of my sixties.  It is good to be active, and I think sailing 385 miles in a little boat that I built qualifies as being active.

The photograph above, leaving Jove Creek on my way to Jekyll Island, is one of my favorites of the trip.  A perfect morning with good wind and a rushing tide.

The sail into Jacksonville always marks the beginning of the end of the trip.  It was a long day, but an excellent day.  Sometimes it is good to be hungry and tired.

Many thanks to Pete in Charleston.  He always keeps an eye on me, and stores my truck and trailer too.  Thank you, Pete.

Thanks also to Bobby in Palatka who offered a free dock if the marina was full like last year.

The Pilgrim and I are off in a day or so for a trip to Costa Rica, a week in the rain forest and a week on a Pacific Beach.  I am looking forward to the warm temperatures.  The Pilgrim is looking forward to hiking, plus the coffee and cacao farms.  

Around the first of May I'll begin the spring trip in North Carolina.

Maybe being retired isn't so bad after all.

Thursday, April 4, 2024

day eighteen - the last leg

Calm night, no more rain after I climbed into the sleeping bag.  Sail off anchor 7:05, cold morning (again).  I note the weather app shows good wind through the morning, the strong gusts in the afternoon.

Making 3.1 down Doctors Inlet, wind over the port quarter.  8:40 pass under the bridge and out onto the St. Johns River.

Wind now on the starboard quarter, 3.2. More wind at 9:15, 5.5.  10:00 rounding Popo Point, turning to the southeast.  Red marker 18 shows a helping flood tide.  10:55 jibe.

Lighter wind, making 2.0 with the tide.  Wind fills in and making 3.7.  12:30 more wind, 4.2.  Gusts beginning to arrive.  

12:45 round up and tuck in a double reef, 4.1.  1:15 a series of strong gusts, 5.2.  Round up and bring down the main.  Sailing mizzen and jib.  1:30 making a steady 5.3, 6.4 in the gusts.  

A small tug-style cruiser comes up alongside. I see the captain looking at SPARTINA, just the two small sails up and he can't seem to understand how we are making almost six knots.  He shakes his head, throttles up and passes on by.

5:35 make the final turn south at Forrester Point, the bridge at Palatka comes into sight.  We are racing the setting sun.  Slip under the bridge as the sun drops below the horizon. 

 6:35 anchor down just off the docks in Palatka.  The trip is done.

39.75 NM for the day

334.65 nautical miles / 385 miles for the cruise


Wednesday, April 3, 2024

day seventeen - storm warning

Light ran at dawn.  Go back to sleep.  Wake to a calm, clear morning.  Hot chocolate and granola with blueberries for breakfast.  Forecast show wind and rain coming midday.  Not going anywhere today.

Wind arrives about noon.  Strong, gusty wind.  Read, nap, catch up with family on the phone.

Late afternoon thunderstorm warnings.  A little less wind.  Cloudy evening.

Storms arrive just after sunset.  Strong wind, heavy rain.  The anchor holds well.  Climb into the sleeping bag and go to sleep.


Monday, April 1, 2024

day sixteen - glassy

Sunrise.  48 degrees.  Boom tent and side decks covered in dew.  Patches of fog on the river.  Windless.

Under power 7:20, following the St. Johns through downtown Jacksonville.  

8:00 out of downtown, the river turns south and opens up wide.  Water is like glass.  Motoring at just above idle, making 5.8 with the flood tide carrying us as much as the outboard.  

10:05 turn west towards Doctors Inlet.  10:20 pass under the bridge into the inlet, turn towards a marina.  There I meet the world's nicest dock hand.  He welcomes me, takes some photographs of SPARTINA, helps move us over to the fuel dock to top off the gas can.  I ask if there is a place I can get food nearby.  He tells me the only place is a convenience store and he'll be happy to give me a ride there in a golf cart.  I tell him thanks but I could use a good walk.

After a run to the store, cast off and motor southwest - still windless - to an anchorage marked Swimming Pen Creek.  Anchor down in the well-protected cove 12:15.

Set up the boom tent to get out of the sun.  The Italian sub from the convenience store turns out to be excellent.  I add a drizzle of olive oil to the bread and enjoy a nice lunch with chips and a bottled iced tea.  Nap, catch up on the log.  Set up the sleeping gear.

19.86 NM