Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Cape Coral Florida

Hooray! We arrived at Ike & Babs canal on Sunday morning around 12:00 and are now docked right behind their house. We plan to be here for Thanksgiving and part of next week. Nelson is working on finding out the damage to our forward sail stay so we can get it repaired. We are planning to leave here next week on a rental car and return to NC to visit with family and friends and also enjoy the Christmas Holidays with them. Nelson went up the mast this morning to check out the damage and thinks it is not as bad as he expected. He had his nephew, Eric and one of Ike's friends hoist him up the mast. They had the hard work, but Nelson was exhausted also when he came down much later. Not a good thing to do when you are 65 years old!
We are enjoying our visit with Ike and Babs and also Eric and Diane. The weather here is beautiful and we have been in shorts everyday thus far. I will probably not be writing on the glob until we come back after the New Year New and continue our trip by boat. Hope each and everyone of you have a Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy being with friends and family. We are thankful for sharing this holiday with Nelson's brother and his family here in Florida.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Beautiful late sun setting and the smoke in the background
Handsome and tired captian of Last Boat
Love the sunsets on Lake Okeechobee
One of the five locks we went through after going over to the west coast of FL
Did not get a picture of the four alligators we saw through alligator alley. They each got into the water as we rode by.

Trip from Clewiston to Fort Myers

We had a beautiful day on the water today. The weather was in the 80s and we had very little wind which means, we motored all day.
We pulled away from Rowland Martin Marina this morning around 7:00 going west. We went by another forest fire around 9:00 and we ended having to wash the boat down to get rid of all the black ashes which landed on our boat as we went down the water way. We only saw smoke and no fire. Must have been a big one.
We went through three locks on our trip today. The first one lowered us 8 feet and the other two about 2-3 feet more. All we had to do was motor into the lock and hold on to the rope beside the wall to keep our boat from moving while we were in the lock. Most locks take about 30 minutes. We had to wait 30 minutes to get into the last one because it had already taken in another boat coming east.
We had a mild accident today trying to get through the Alva bascule bridge. Due to current repairs being made, the operator only opened half the bridge and it was not totally opened and the operator said we could pass if we liked. We questioned whether the left side was opened enough for a 55 foot clearance and he didn’t reply. Well, we tried and did not make it cleanly. The top of the mast hit and it appears that only the wind direction and wind monitor were broken off. We were lucky, but we will have the mast looked at by professionals soon to make sure there are no other damages. We are anchored just five miles outside of Fort Myers tonight in a nice anchorage and will be in Cape Coral by midday tomorrow.
We cannot believe we have completed out trip in just 21 days and we were visiting four of those days.
Hopefully we will be there tomorrow with no more mishaps.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Pictures of our trip today 11-19-10

1. 6 large barrels of water & 2 small to heel our boat over enough to get under the railroad bridge
2. one of the two locks we went thru today
3. Beautiful sky with smoke from forest fire while crossing the lake
4. We passed a dinner cruise boat on the narrow canal with no cruisers
5. The railroad bridge which is an historic site and we had to
be heeled over to get under
6. Billy getting the barrels and water in them to heel our boat
7. the canal we traveled today

Stuart FL-Clewiston, FL

Hooray! We are across Lake Okeechobee and docked at Rowland Martin Marina in Clewiston, FL.
What a day! We pulled anchor in Stuart this am and motored into the St. Lucie Canal. We had to go thru a lock in the canal that lifted our boat 13 feet above the water we had just traveled. It was scary watching all that water coming thru the doors and holding a rope to keep our boat off the lock walls. We started very low in the lock but came out very high. It is amazing how the water levels change from one body of water to another. The water was very shallow as we continued our journey down the canal but we managed to make it through and stopped at the Indian River Marina for fuel and made a call to Billy, the man who was to meet us to heel our boat over to get us thru the railroad bridge just before going across Lake Okeechobee. We had to wait to get into the marina because the docks were crowded and we also had to wait about an hour for Billy to meet us at the bridge. I felt sorry for Nelson as we were in a very narrow canal and he had to keep the boat in the middle and we had lots of wind which made it difficult. Nelson did a great job today with the boat. We never ran aground and we had many chances. When Billy arrived, he put 6 large and 2 small barrels of water on the port side of our boat to heel us over. We were really leaning and yes, we made it without any problems. When he pulled the plugs on the barrels, our port side of the boat got a real washing. It took us three and one half hours to get across the lake. It was twenty-five miles across and the water averaged 7 feet most times. But, then as we were getting closer to the end, we saw 1.2 feet. Glad it wasn’t that very often. We are thankful to have this part of the trip over and look forward to getting to Cape Coral in the next two days.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Nelson's sister Loretta joined us on our trip to St. Augustine.

Billy & Diane Williams, from RMT who greeted us at Jacksonville where they now live at Ponte Vedra.

Beautiful sunset!

Last Boat refueling
Loretta & Mac waiting patiently
Large ship in St. Augustine

Pictures of our boat and Florida travels

Last Boat getting new bottom paint before going south!

Mya was interested in pumpkin carving also
Jackson carving his Jack-O-Lantern with his Dad's help

Mya was a cute cupcake for Halloween! Jackson was a skeleton!

A small Ferry boat on the ICW

Robert & Susan Cole on sailing vessel, SuzyQ, traveled with Last Boat from Wrightsville Beach to Titusville, FL. They became very good friends and were great boating companions. We were at the oyster roast at Isle of Palm, SC.

Robert and Susan Cole from Kansas City, MO
Their boat was named SuzyQ!

Their sweet boykin spaniel, Abbey was six months old and was becoming a good boating dog.

One of many beautiful sunsets we see every night

Isle of Palm restaurant where they had the oyster roast and we ate a delicious meal

What a beautiful sight on the ICW

Looked like a steam boat

One of the many beautiful houses in Charleston, SC

Robert & Susan Cole's boat "SuzyQ"

Another cute picture of the pumpkin carving

Jackson caught this eel on Last Boat in Spooners Creek, Morehead City, NC. The end of fishing that day!

St. Augustine to Stuart Florida

Monday, after leaving St. Augustine, we only motored for only 39 miles and anchored just off the ICW at Butler Beach.
Tues., Nov.16, at 6:30am, we pulled the anchor and headed further south. The sun was shining bright in the morning but the afternoon became cloudy but never rained. We traveled 73 miles before anchoring 15 miles south of New Smyrna Beach.
We noticed a lot of smoke in the forest beyond our anchorage. Later when we were watching the news on TV, we realized that this was the fire off 95 which had stopped traffic going north. The next morning, we had soot all over our boat and the air was so heavy with smoke that I had to stay in the boat for over an hour to stay away from the strong smoke fumes. They are not good when you have asthma. (I am not having any problems now and do not want to do anything to cause them. We motored 67 miles and finally anchored 10 miles south of Melbourne Beach. We had a nice day after leaving the smoke area. The weather was wonderful. We had shorts and short sleeves on all day. Our anchorage was great!
Thurs., Nov.18, we pulled anchor and headed south again. You are right. We are not visiting every place this time, we are just moving further south everyday so we can get to Cape Coral before Thanksgiving. We covered 73 miles and the weather again was great! There are always other boats on the water going south so we are seldom alone. We are very pleased with the progress we are making. We are so thankful that we had our prop repitched and now we are moving faster than our last year’s trip. Today, we anchored in Stuart, Florida. We plan to start our journey across the Lake tomorrow and will have our boat heeled over to get under the railroad bridge just before we enter the Lake. Should be an exciting day.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Jacksonville, Florida

Last Boat has arrived in Jacksonville, FL! We got into Beach Marina in Jacksonville Friday afternoon around 2:00 PM. We did have some engine problems again but5 managed to overcome them. We were so excited when we arrived that we had four welcoming friends to greet us. Nelson’s sister, Loretta, and her husband, Mac and Billy & Diane Williams, friends of ours during Planter’s Bank days were also there. It was good to see familiar faces when we arrived. Friday was a beautiful day. The temperature was high 70’s and the sun was bright all day. We have motored most of the trip as we have had little wind or it was on our nose as usual.
Nelson had contacted the marina concerning our engine problem and the mechanic met him shortly after we got the boat secured. After they examined filters and fuel, they decided that everything was fine and the problem was that the electric pump was not priming the fuel filter properly and we had to put fuel in the primary filter ourselves to eliminate the air in the fuel system. We hope our fuel problems are now solved.
We spent three nights with Loretta and Mac and enjoyed our time at their house. We also went out to eat Sunday night with our friends from Rocky Mount. It was great to see them and catch up on all the years since we were last together.
We departed Beach Marina this morning at 8:30 and Loretta joined us on the boat trip to St. Augustine. Mac met her at the Marina where we stopped for fuel. The weather was beautiful and she wanted to continue with us only if we could say the weather would not change to a storm. Of course we could not do that so she went back to Jacksonville with Mac. We are thankful she decided to join us to St. Augustine. After lunch, we ate a delicious piece of walnut pie that Diane Williams gave us when we visited them Sunday at their home in Ponte Veda. It was great! Thanks, Diane.
We are anchored at Butler Beach outside of St. Augustine for the night. We covered only 50 miles today. We plan to get an early start tomorrow and move much further south.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Can you believe we saw a ferry carrying only a truck pulling a camper crossing the waterway.

We have waited many times for the bridge tender to open the bridges. Sometimes we were lucky and were right on time.

Ondra has found a new seat. Our cooler gives her a better view of the water.

We were greeted by our friend, Lynn Perry, who works at SeaPath Marina in Wrightsville Beach.

We had many VHF conversations with fellow cruisers on the water.


Georgia is behind us....

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday were great days on the water. The temperature was in the high 70’s or low 80’s each day and we were able to wear shorts and tee-shirts….
We encountered fuel related problems each day and we now think we have a fuel pump problem instead of bad fuel. We arrived today in Cumberland Island Georgia which is near Kings Bay Submarine Base. We are anchored with about 40 other cruising boats, this is the most popular anchorage we have visited yet. The last two days we have been covering the winding waterways of Georgia. You can see your stern as you make your turns into the next waterway. Water is very shallow most often and we have marked our charts that in some of these waters we need the tide to be at least ½ rising tide for us to make the return trip. Georgia surely has more range markers than any other state and you had better follow them closely. We have managed to get thru GA without running aground, thank goodness!

Tomorrow, we hope to arrive in Jacksonville, FL at the Beach Cove Marina and visit Nelson’s sister for a couple of days. We will continue our trip South on Monday.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Moving South by Last Boat

We are moving on the water again, Monday, November 8. We pulled anchor this am about 6:45 and follow another sailboat all day and into the Beaufort River. We started experiencing the same engine problem that we had on Sun. but this time, it continued and we had to slowdown; therefore, we missed the 4:00 bridge into Beaufort. We moved slowly into a Marine right before the bridge where we spent the night. Nelson changed the fuel filters again and cleaned the air filter. We had less than a quarter of fuel in the tank so he pulled enough out of the tank to check for dirty fuel. It looked good so we left the Marina around 10:45am in order to made the 11am bridge opening and went straight to the fuel docks and filled our tank as well as filling both water tanks. We had a wonderful trip this afternoon and are now here just before Savannah anchoring in the Wright River anchorage. It is a very quiet and peaceful small body of water for anchoring. We are the only boat here so it is a little eerie.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Monday, November 8, 2010

We motored away from SeaPath Marina on Friday, Nov.5th. Thank goodness, the rain had gone and we motor sailed along the ICW with 12 other mostly sailboats. It was a very cool morning and we were fully layered with lots of clothing to keep us warm. We have three new pieces of convas made since our last trip south and they are really helping keep out the cold wind on either side and we have the back also enclosed. Nice additions and we are much warmer. After riding the ICW all day, we anchored at 4:30 in Calabash Creek for the night. There were 12 other sailboats there with us. A nice stopping off place! No, we did not go in for seafood, we ate a good dinner on our boat and stayed warm.

On Saturday at 7:45 am we pulled anchor and motor sailed south in the 40 degree weather with other boats. We traveled 73 miles on the ICW anchoring in Mimin Creek in SC. We were very tired after a Long, cold day on the water.

On Sunday at 6:45(time chg) we pulled anchor and motored down south again in the freezing cold weather. At 11:15, we lost power in a narrow passage and had to throw the anchor over to keep us from drifting in the shallows. Nelson had to change two fuel filters and after 30 minutes we cranked the engine and headed on our journey south. It was so cold. We motored through Charleston, SC and then through Elliotts Cut. We anchored just after the cut in the open waters to the right of the ICW. No one but us were there but it was a great place to anchor. We were surrounded by houses, streets, and lights. We lite Mr. Heater to keep us warm until we went to bed. We slept under our down comforter which we have every night thus far and stayed very warm. This was our coldest day and night. Looking forward to warmer days ahead.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Last Boat Heading South-AGAIN

Last Boat on the NC Waters headed South
Hooray! Last Boat and the Gainey's are on the water again headed south until the butter melts as our friend Dean always says and for the Florida sun. We departed our docks at Jordan Creek, NC on Monday, Nov. first at 2:30 after loading the boat with lots of clothes and food for our trip south. Our first night, we anchored in the Rose Bay area around 5:30 pm. Tues., Nov 2 at 7:00 am we pulled the anchor and headed into the Neuse River. Boy, did we rock and roll all the way across the Neuse. It was like going through the ocean. But, our boat was moving through the river at good speed and we were in Morehead City by 1:30 pm. Will, Stacey and Jackson were still working and in school so we kept trucking and finally anchored after dark at 7:15 pm in Mile Hammock Bay with other boaters waiting to go south the next morning. Wed., Nov.3 at 7:45 am we pulled anchor and headed to Wilmington with at least 12 other boats. We arrived at SeaPath Marina today around 1:45 after sailing and motoring in the rain and waiting for two bridges to open for us to go through along with the other boats. It has been a cool trip but we have managed to stay warm thus far. Our new canvas sides have helped tremendously. We are looking forwward to seeeing Justin & Lindsey tonight for dinner. We hope to leave here tomorrow, but are waiting to make that decision in the morning after seeing how much rain there will be tomorrow. Today was not bad as we only had small rain showers. We are enjoying our trip and sharing it with family and friends.