March 27-April 20
Well, we have had an interesting time since our last update. We finally left Marathon on Sunday 3/31 for our first leg of the trip out in the ocean. We made it to Rodriquez Key and anchored with 19 other boats, some on their way to the Bahamas and some just heading north towards home. The second day we headed to Miami/Coral Gables where we had spent 55 days earlier in the year. As we headed into Biscayne Bay the sky grew dark and wild thunder storms started. We spent over an hour just “treading water” outside of the marina entrance as we couldn't see past the bow with the heavy rains. The vessel Marianna, who was traveling with us, was hit by lightning and lost all their electronics. The bolt vaporized their antenna and also killed their refrigeration. Both Pat and Fred were unharmed. The next day we left early and went all the way in the Atlantic to Ft. Lauderdale. It was an easy calm day and we anchored for the night at Boca Raton.After Ft Lauderdale we were now in the ICW and for the next few days worked our way north to Vero Beach. Old friends, David and Janet were there along with Bill and Terri and Laura and Graeme. They all had just come back from their 4 month trip in the Bahamas and were waiting for us to arrive. The following day we rented a car for the weekend, $9.99/day, and did the last of our major shopping before getting home. The wine cellar needed restocking and we were getting low on bottled water, sodas and other adult beverages. We had a great time seeing our friends before they started leaving. Bill and Terri are in a race for home to see their new granddaughter. Janet and David needed to get to Green Cove Springs and prepare their boat for the summer before heading back home to Canada. Laura and Graeme needed to move on also in order to see some sites on their way home to Ottawa. We stayed in Vero for one more night and then started our voyage north. A few days later we caught up with David, Janet, Laura, and Graeme in St. Augustine. For the second time this trip the weather in St. Augustine was so bad we couldn’t even leave the boat to go ashore. The winds were 25kt and the waves too high to make a ride in the dinghy a dry one.
We had been communicating with Fred and Pat on Marianna on a daily basis concerning their boat. The damage from the lightning was more extensive than first thought but they are making progress on temporary repairs and should be moving any day to their home in New Hampshire. We had plans to meet them maybe in the South Carolina area. But as with our plans with Laura and Graeme, sometimes they just don’t work out as we hoped. We have either been trying to catch them or they have been trying to catch us due to different thoughts of where to stay and for how long. We made the trip through Georgia, which has several low spots with eight foot tide swings, in only three days with beautiful weather and calm seas. On the way to SC we saw a Coast Guard helicopter doing practice maneuvers with a small boat and a blimp on it's way to the RBC Heritage golf tournament.
We pulled into Port Royal, SC on the 16th to rest, do some laundry and pick up a couple of items we discovered we needed. Port Royal Landing Marina is one of our favorite places to stay. The staff is top notch and there is a loaner car we can use almost anytime we feel like it to run errands or just go into town for lunch. Pat and Fred arrived on our second day after an overnight passage in the Atlantic from Fernandina Beach FL. Laura and Graeme arrived on the third day after spending a couple of days at St Simons. As luck would have it, the weather took a turn for the worse and we extended our stay for three more nights here at the marina along with our friends. We are so close to home, maybe two weeks, and are ready for our king size bed, king size shower and large kitchen. We love being on the boat but after almost 8 months of living within 38 feet of space we tend to get the cramped feeling.
Our plans from here are to travel 35-40 miles each day with only one more stop for more than one night. That will be at St. James Plantation, NC to see Dale and Kim. They are close friends of ours from Virginia that have moved south and are building a new home in the Wilmington area. From there we will be less than a week from home. The next update will probably be at the end of our trip.