We finally left Lake Worth on Sunday April 3rd, working our way out through the assorted maniacs in high powered sports boats who seem to populate these waters. Two instances stand out; the VHF burst into life, not with the usual inane request for a "Radio Check" from some weekend warrior but someone reporting a shooting and that the gunman was calmly paddling away from the scene in a canoe..........and then 1/2 hour later a report of a child being towed behind one of the speed boats in one of those rubber ring affairs that seem so popular over here. Seems the driver of the boat hit an incoming wave at speed and the child was thrown into the air some 10' before crashing into the water...
The winds were light but favourable and we had high hopes of a reasonable passage and of getting to Ferandina Beach before the wind switched to the north. Didn't happen of course and we found ourselves offshore as the wind switched. We hove to for 18 hours waiting for it all to go through. The wind strength wasn't that high, perhaps 25knots but the north moving current caused waves to build up rapidly and beating into it would have had green water cascading along the deck or worse so we sat there under reefed mizzen and backed stays'l waiting and dozing until things improved. As they did; with the light winds and the lumpy sea we opted to use the Genny, Mizzen stays'l and the mizzen and spent a pleasant and relatively quiet few hours working our way up to Cumberland Island, just north of Fernandina. I don't know why I hadn't thought of that combination before because few things rile me as much as a sloppy sea and the main banging about and desperate attempts to save damage to both spars and sail. A winner and no doubt it'll appear on Hannah again before long. We crept in and anchored off Cumberland around 10pm noting other boats already at anchor. .The morning showed 3 others around us and another 2 already out in the ICW and heading North - the light from the southern heat was well under way.
(Cumberland Island is noted for being a nature reserve and home to a herd or perhaps several herds of wild horses)
We rested a day before heading back out to sea and north to meet up with our friends George and Lillian. Well Lillian, as George was still on his way back from the Bahamas in their 40' trawler. The journey began slowly as we drifted north but the wind picked up in the afternoon and we crammed on the sail to make up for the time spent drifting. As night came on we reduced to allow the self-steerer to work without wandering too much but by daylight the wind had fallen away, as promised, and the threat of missing the tide for the last 20 miles had us under engine. We motored up to a river north of the ICW and anchored in deep water. The much trumpeted thunderstorm didn't arrive although it became very squally and we moved to a more sheltered spot opposite some VERY large houses. A quiet night with no wind resulted....but the morning brought thick fog with vis. down to 1/4 mile but we left anyway thanks to the wonders of radar and electronic charts on a laptop. By the time we'd travelled the 4 miles or so down to the next river we were in sunshine and blue skies and another few hours had us entering the spur where our friends lived. Their dock proved easy to find as it held a myriad of boats whilst all others were either empty or had the usual centre-console speed machine and here we'll stay for a few days before resuming the familiar journey north.
The bliss of a well shaded home...........!!
And finally. Sometimes we see something that just makes us wish we'd thought of that. Crocs were such an item and despite the "what the...have you got on your feet" comments we got when we arrived home wearing said items, within 6 months they were everywhere. Well we have just seen another item. Simple, functional, great to look at - well take a look at them here. We met Laurel, the inspiration behind the product and you can see how, why etc she has worked for 3 years to get this product to market on this link:
and they're neat people too.