Sunday, January 29, 2012

Biding our time in Jacksonville

It is Sunday morning in Jacksonville. Our plane takes off for St. Louis tomorrow 1/30/12 at around 4:00pm. We have already lined up a taxi to take us to the airport which is only about 20 minutes away. So we are biding our time here in Jacksonville.

I did all of the routine engine maintenance yesterday: oil changes, Racor filter changes and the like. All went well. The only hitch is that the engine start button on the lower helm has stopped working...probably the switch has gone bad. The flybridge starter button works fine. I'll deal with that when we return. I'll also have to replace the joker valve in the head.

I thought I would wrap things up with some random notes. No biggies, just a few thoughts that pop into my head.

Cormorants - Cormorants are an extremely common sea bird but being from the midwest this is the first time I have been exposed to them. I find them to be very interesting and entertaining creatures with some comical aspects. They are excellent divers and swimmers but they are not the most graceful things when they try to take off. As they start flapping their wings to get airborne they kind of run with both feet together along the surface of the water for 15 or 20 feet. Also when they surface from a dive they quickly turn their head in all directions to get a quick look-see, as if they are checking out if any other of their kin has seen them.

Floating docks - I LOVE floating docks. I will love them more in the near future. As we progress north through Georgia and South Caroline the tide swings can be as much as 9 feet. Now we are certainly going to be on the hook much of the time but the rigors of this lifestyle does warrant a day and night of rest every so often (see below) and with these kind of tide swings a floating dock is the way to go when we tie up in a marina.

Rigorous Life - Now, I want to say that I certainly had the expectation that this was going to be a tough way to live. Piloting a boat is not a casual thing with a winding route, fighting winds and currents and the constant motion. The glossy photos in the magazines and sites of laughing people languishing on their decks drinking Mai-Tais while plowing through glass-smooth bodies of water are hooey. That's right - HOOEY! (I havent used the word "hooey" in a very long time.) This last four day dash to Jacksonville was hard. The conditions on the northern half of our 335 first leg are as different from the southern half as there could be. We have decided that we should probably pull into a marina about every third or fourth day if for no other reason but to take a rest and catch up on some sleep.

Sailboats and sailboaters - Why, when you are under power do you insist on navigating right smack down the center of the channel?

Superlatives
Best Marina Store - Titusville City Marina (Lisa - "I could have dropped a couple hundred bucks easily, but I restrained myself")
Best Marina - Vero Beach City Marina. Made for boaters, not pedestrians.
Most scenic stretch of water - Darrell - The area along Cape Kennedy. The VAB just was an awesome sight. Also there were manatees directly under the dock at Titusville City Marina...just a few feet away from us.
Best Marine service - Atlantic Marine Mobile Service, Vero Beach. Awesome.

Dames Point Marina - I want to add a word about this marina that we are currently at and where we are leaving Why Knot for a while. Like was said in the previous entry it is kind of rough around the edges, a blue collar marina, but they are certainly friendly and very accommodating. They have big plans and we hope they succeed fabulously. Good people working hard to make things go right. If you're in the area and you need a stop-over give them a shot at your business. And if you need to fly out and in to Jacksonville they are the closest marina to the airport.

I am not sure if I will be posting during our shore leave. If something moves me to write something I will. We will be returning to Jacksonville on February 14th.