Tuesday, September 1, 2009

We're Home!

Location: Jacksonville Beach, FL

Well, we are finally home, 3 months after our sailing adventure began. And what a great adventure it has been. Of course, the remainder of the trip had some memorable moments. So, sit back and relax and enjoy the final leg of our trip home.

Thursday, August 27, 2009
St. Augustine, FL
We decided to stay an extra day in St. Augustine. Admiral Sandy said she wasn’t ready for the trip to be over, so she was stalling by keeping us in St. Augustine. Personally, I think Captain Jim and Admiral Sandy just wanted to prolong my yearning for my bed, my yard and my air conditioning!

Here are some photos of St. Augustine:

Fort Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine:

While in St. Augustine, we had a nice lunch with our sailing friend Fland, who keeps his catamaran in St. Augustine. We also met a couple named Paul and Malinda who live on a 41 foot Morgan Out Island named “Daydream”. They have been living on their sail boat for the last 7 years and have spent most of that time in the Caribbean. They may be headed to Jacksonville to do some work on their boat, so we hope to see them again. Here is a photo of “Daydream”.

Friday, August 28, 2009
Destination: Jacksonville Beach, FL
As we were preparing to leave the anchorage, Captain Jim spotted this turtle that swam up to our boat. The turtle was trying to get under the boat, so Captain Jim had a hard time getting his photo.

You can see in this photo, the brown color of the water now that we are in northeast Florida. Admiral Sandy said it is not as pretty as the water in the Keys. But, Admiral Jim said the water is that color because of the tannic acid released by decaying vegetation. It is good to know that the brown is not because of pollution.

Approaching rain:

Here are some photos of the beautiful scenery north of St. Augustine. Much of this natural area is part of the Guana State Park (a.k.a. Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve, GTMNERR).

If you look closely at this picture, you can see two egrets in flight:

I'm just enjoying the ride:

Here is a photo of a roseate spoonbill. We wish we could have gotten a closer shot, but it is the pink bird near the middle of the photo. We don't see these birds very often, so it is a real treat when we do.

Rain ahead:

I love all the smells:

As we approached the Palm Valley bridge, the rain hit. But after the rain subsided, the water was so smooth, it was like a mirror:

But, Wait… The Adventure Isn’t Over Yet!
We were only about an hour and a half away from Jacksonville Beach when the engine began to sputter and then it stopped running completely! I thought we had gotten to our destination, so I got excited. But, Captain Jim wasn’t so excited. When he checked the fuel tank, he realized that we had run out of fuel. I could tell that mild-mannered Captain Jim was frustrated because he had worked so hard the whole trip calculating how much fuel we needed every time we re-fueled. Unfortunately, his calculations were just a little off.

What happened next is what makes our adventure so memorable. In this section of the ICW, the waterway is very narrow. But, we were able to anchor the boat on the west side of the ICW to give boats room to pass us.

The east side of this section of the ICW is lined with homes. So, we were very grateful when a nice man named Steve noticed we were having problems and yelled to us from his dock. We told him we were out of fuel and he offered to take Captain Jim to a station down the road. So, Capt. Jim rowed over to Steve’s house.

Admiral Sandy and I were chilling out on the boat when I heard a sound that got my attention.

As we watched to see what caused the sound, we spotted 4 or 5 manatee in the water off our port bow! We were so excited because we had seen several manatees on our trip, but had not gotten a photo of any. So, we tried to get some photos, but the manatee did not come close to the boat. We were only able to catch small glimpses of the manatees as they moved past the boat.

Here is photo of a manatee’s tail that came to the surface:

Here is a photo of a manatee that broke the surface of the water, but we have no idea what part of the manatee came out of the water.

I really enjoyed watching the manatees:

Here is a view of the ICW from our anchorage while we were waiting for Captain Jim to return with fuel.

Can you find the beautiful egret perched in the fallen tree along the ICW?

Captain Jim and Steve return from getting fuel. We are forever grateful to Steve for his kindness. He is one of the many reasons our trip has been so wonderful.

Once Captain Jim put the fuel in the tank and bled the fuel lines, we were underway again only an hour after we ran out of fuel.

Ponte Vedra has some big houses too:

Home Again
The beautiful salt marshes west of Jacksonville Beach as we approached our final bridge for the trip, the new McCormick Bridge that replaced the old drawbridge:

Palm Cove Marina as seen from our approach on the ICW:

View of palm trees and the McCormick bridge from the channel leading to our marina:

Morgan Glory safely tucked into her slip #E17. By the way, #E17 was the slip where Morgan Glory resided in the Key West Bight Marina. What an amazing coincidence!

Our friend Captain Ron came to give Admiral Sandy a ride to the house to pick up the car. When I saw him, I got so excited, I couldn’t stop barking and howling! I was especially hoping his wife Sharon was with him because she usually gives me vienna sausages for a treat. She wasn't with him, but I did get to see her later and she gave me some "welcome home" vienna sausages. Yummy!

Thanks to Captain Ron who took a photo of the three salty sailors aboard Morgan Glory at the conclusion of our 3-month adventure:

When we finally got to our house, I was so happy I did a “happy dog roll” on the floor:

Well, our sailing adventure is over and we celebrate that we were able to take this trip and experience all the amazing things we did. We have come back home with so many wonderful memories, but most importantly we have come back home with these things from the adventure:

    • We now know we can live on a 32 foot sail boat for 3 months and love it. So, we are now confident we can live on it longer!
    • We can live without air conditioning in the summer. Thanks to Admiral Sandy and Captain Jim for hosing me down on those really hot days to help me stay cool.
    • We can live with only an ice box. Note from Admiral Sandy: I would still like to have refrigeration (meaning we don’t have to get ice every 2-3 days). Note from Captain Jim: I still want us to figure out how to live without ice or refrigeration. Hmmm… we’re going to have to work that one out.
    • We can live without a car, but bicycles sure would have been nice. The bus system in Key West and Vero Beach was very helpful, but neither allowed dogs!
    • Food on a sail boat always tastes so much better than on the land.
    • Anchoring is wonderful. How great to have a waterfront view of sunrises and sunsets every day!
    • Morgan Glory is a great boat that we trust to take us safely on many more adventures.
    • We don’t have to have a TV to survive.
    • We are so glad there were many dog-friendly restaurants and marinas along the way.
    • We are thankful there were free Wi-fi spots, but wish there were more!
    • Boating people are great people and we look forward to meeting more of our fellow boaters on future adventures.
    • We cherish the wonderful times spent with the new friends we made on this trip and we look forward to seeing them again soon!
    • We are grateful for the wonderful friends and family we left behind. They are a special part of our lives no matter where we are. They shared our joys throughout the adventure and happily celebrated our return home.
    • The Keys are beautiful and we definitely plan to go back again on our boat!
    Some additional things Admiral Sandy took away from this adventure:
    • We need to teach First Mate Coconut to go potty on the deck of the boat so we can travel farther distances without stopping for shore leave.
    • Captain Jim did a great job of readying and maintaining the systems on Morgan Glory so we didn’t have any serious problems while we were away.
    • Some boating skills I gained on this trip: I learned how to back the boat (believe me, our boat doesn’t back very well at all, but I learned how to work with it), drop anchor and weigh anchor.
    • I could sail anywhere with Captain Jim and First Mate Coconut. They’re the best crew an Admiral could ever have. And I love them both very much!

    Well, that is all for our Keys adventure and I hope that you have enjoyed following our adventure through the blog. We certainly enjoyed living it! This adventure may be over, but we definitely plan to enjoy more adventures on our sail boat in the future… so stay tuned!

    Until the next adventure…

    Coconut and Crew

    You may join my Yahoo group by going to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/coconutandcrew/

    1 comment:

    1. Well, I must say, I've thoroughly enjoyed "tagging" along on your trip! I know that I hate, like yourselves no doubt, for the experience to be over. Since I found this blog (I believe off thisweekontheisland.blogspot.com if I remember correctly as I've been following Doug since he moved from this area) I've followed every posting with much anticipation. How I wish I would learn to sail and have this type of experience. (With going through a divorce though, it'll no doubt be a while.) Captain Jim, Admiral Sandy, and most importantly First Mate Coconut - thanks for the great story and sharing with everyone! Wishing you all the best, take care and I'll be sure to check back to see what happens next! THANK YOU!! Dewayne (capnwayne (at) gmail.com)