Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Cape Canaveral

The Atlantis, the last space shuttle, one of the many that did 135 missions into space to repair the Hubble Space Telescope and build the International Space Station.

We visited the Kennedy Space Centre yesterday and I would highly recommend it.  It was fantastic! We spent part of our time on a bus tour of the facility where we saw the launch pads and the humongous crawler that moves the launch pads with the space shuttles with the rockets attached from one place to another. 

            The building where the rockets are built. Each star on the flag is six feet across. 

Then we got to tour a facility that explained the Apollo program. It took place in the sixties as a result of the space race between Russia and the U.S., the end result was men walking on the moon. 
The actual mission control equipment that was used to send astronauts to the moon. I got goosebumps as we listened to a launch sequence. It has been over 40 years since I sat in front of the TV with my family and watched as it all happened in real time. 
They had the rockets in three stages in the building, they were absolutely huge. 
The capsule from Apollo 13, the ill fated mission where the team had to abort a mission and return to earth, the whole team worked to fix the problems that occurred and the men came home safely.

We returned the space centre and toured the Atlantis exhibit, it was one of the shuttles. Here is the shuttle bay of Atlantis with the Canada Arm's in full view. 

How the astronauts had to sleep, hooked to the wall. 

We could have spent another whole day there, taking in the exhibits. We also visited the "Explorers wanted" building, where they talked about what is in the future for the space program. They had the three types of Mars rovers in there, the ingenuity and precision that went into building these vehicles was just unbelievable. 

Sailing Info.

We are using "The Intracoastal Waterway, Norfolk to Miami, A Cockpit Cruising Handbook" by Jan and Bill Moeller. It is a small guide with few pictures and has references to bridges, anchorages and marinas by the mile number along the waterway. We just purchased some old cruising guides Waterway Guide published by Boating Industry Magazine. We got it at a Sailor's Exchange and it cover Florida, east and west coast, the Keys and some of the Gulf Coast.  We are using it only for anchorages and ideas of what to see in places we visit. 

St. Augustine FA 
Stayed at a mooring at the St. Augustine Municipal Marina
$20/night, wifi in Marina bldg, a lounge, laundry $2/load/ nice showers 
A bit noisy as you are close to shore, cruiser bus $5/person, will drive you around and pick you up. 

Daytona Beach, FA
Anchored in 4m. Good holding, no protection, open to waves from ICW
No info. on services
Shallow spots in anchorage, proceed with caution. 

Titusville, FA
Mooring ball for $20/night. Good showers, wifi at Marina, laundry
Good access to groceries, within walking distance
Went to Kennedy Space Centre, taxi. $40 each way, worth it. 

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas from St. Augustine, FA

                                      MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM FLORIDA 

We decided to stay in St. Augustine in northern Florida for Christmas.  Our new friends that we met in Nfld, Rod and Rhonda, have a condo down here.  They very kindly contacted us and offered to take us shopping when we arrived.  After we had done our errands, we had a lovey dinner and then they kidnapped us, "twisted our arms"😎and we went and spent a wonderful 24 hours at their condo. What luxury, a queen sized very comfortable bed, a bath and wonderful conversation and meals. They have two dogs, a golden retriever and a Portugese water dog.  After a gruelling session at the pool enduring the 80 year old female drill Sargent of an instructor in an aquasizes session we went to the beach and strolled down the beach while the dogs gambolled in the sand and surf. 
After we returned the dogs had to  endure a fresh water rinsing. 
We returned to the boat and walked around town.  We went into some of the wonderful buildings in the historic district.  St. Augustine was settled by the Spanish and it is by evident by the change in architecture from Georgia. 
We took a tour of Folger College.  It was originally a very exclusive hotel which was built at the turn of the century.  In order to stay at the Ponce de Leon Hotel you had to receive an invitation from the owner, be on the social register and pay $4,000 CASH ( equivalent to $100,000 today) upon arrival whether you intende to stay for the three month season or just a week. It was absolutely stunning inside with beautiful ceilings and the best collection of intact Tiffany windows in the world. 
The room where the window are was and is used as a dining room which sits 400, and is still used by the current students and can be cleared to be used as a ballroom. 

                  The ladies parlour which is used for college receptions now. 
                     What you would have worn 120 years ago to dinner.
Chillaxing while waiting for the tour to start!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Cumberland Island, GA

Cumberland Island is the last of Georgia's Sea Islands and is a National Park. What a gorgeous spot, it is 16nm long and about 11/2 wide at it's narrowest point. It was originally granted to the English noblemen by the crown way back in King George's day after they won it from the Spanish. It became famous for it's sea island cotton, the plantations worked by slaves.  After the Civil War the plantations became unprofitable and the Carnegie family took over the island, hiring the former slaves who remained on the island as help. 

The family had nine children and built estates for two of them on other parts of the island. The home called Dungeness, was uninhabited after 1916 and it was decimated by fire, the remains are still spectacular. 
Mercury is one of the statues on the grounds, which were huge. There was a long 150m percola, which is a stone structure with a roof and open side, and I could just imagine people strolling along in the shade contemplating life! 
It was a warm, sunny day and we had the place to ourselves for awhile. The carriage house and staff quarters were still standing and in good condition. . In the graveyard some of the family was buried, their faithful servants were just outside the cemented in area. There was also a plot for a Revolutionary War General who was very ill when he came to visit and they buried him there for a brief time. 
The plot overlooked the salt marshes and ultimately the Atlantic Ocean.  We saw lots of white pelicans, water fowl, herons and song birds. Wild horse inhabit the island, they have survived since being freed from the plantation. They keep the lawn mowed at Dungeness!  This is also manatee country but they have gone with to seek warmer water. I really want to see one! One of the park workers on the island told us about swimming with them in the Gulf of Mexico. There is wilderness camping available, you arrive by boat and then can use carts to pull your gear to the camp ground.  The cap on visitors is 300 a day. There are sand roads and remaining residents are allowed to drive around because they all donated their land to the Forest Service. We ended the day on the rocking chairs at the Ranger Station and met the woman who was instrumental in having the island declared a National Park.  There is a book written about her, Untamed, The Wildest Woman in America and the Fight For Cumberland Island, I intend to get it. 

Sailing Info.

We are using "The Intracoastal Waterway, Norfolk to Miami, A Cockpit Cruising Handbook" by Jan and Bill Moeller. It is a small guide with few pictures and has references to bridges, anchorages and marinas by the mile number along the waterway. We just purchased the Waterway Guide, Atlantic ICW, Intracostal Waterway, Norfolk VA to Jacksonville Fl, published by Waterway Guide Media.  It is a great guide, with introductions to cities along the way, plus it is updated yearly about conditions on the waterway.  It is sponsored by Marinas, etc. but also mentions anchorages and their pluses and minuses. 

Cumberland Island  30*45.2 N X 081*28.5 W
We anchored in 6m of water with very good holding, only protection was from the East. 
Consider the state of the tide as you anchor, it shoals very quickly to the West.
No services on shore but great hiking trails, a museum, and beaches. A must see. 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Savannah, GA

Savannah is located on the Savannah River and there are no Marinas per se,  we had to tie up at either the city dock which had no bathrooms or showers or bite the bullet and pay 25 cents extra a foot and tie up at the Hyatt Regency. Well we enjoyed our time there, the workout facilities with their gorgeous showers saw much use and we lounged about tin the lobby using their Wifi quite frequently. We tied up at the dock next to the biggest, most beautiful sailboat I have ever seen. 

We are in Georgia, the land of peaches and peanuts. The Savannah we encountered is a fine old city with much of the downtown area set aside as a National Landmark. We took a walking tour of the area and our guide was a wealth of information.  The founder of the city a man named Oglethorpe laid out the city with parks every two blocks, the green spaces are beautifully kept up and the large overhanging live oaks offer a canopy of shade for the residents. 

There were stunning examples of architecture throughout the tour, enhance by the explanations the guide offered us. Savannah has an art and design college, when they started they began buying up the old building in the downtown core and allowing it's students to have a hands on learnng environment while restoration of the buildings took place, everywhere we looked we saw the SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design logo.  The institution has been in large part responsible for the revitalization of the inner city. We stopped in at one of their museums and saw an incredible display of hand died, cut paper, it was amazing. 
We visited the Catholic Cathedral in town, it was beautiful with it's massive pipe organ, and unusual poinsettia Christmas tree. 

 Savannah is located on a 40 foot high bluff above the river. There are three story buildings all along the river and most have touristy shops on all three floors. Here I am on the second floor on the back side of the building, the street is still cobblestone. The old steps are about twice as long as normal so you have to take very large strides going up. 

We passed a millenary establishment and while I restrained myself from going in, I thought I might not be able to resist, I do have evidence of their beautiful creations. 

We have decided to go offshore through the rest of Georgia so at the moment are sailing along towards St. Mary's Inlet at the Georgia/Florida border. It should be about a 24 hour sail, it feels good to be away from those nasty shoaling cuts between rivers in the ICW although I may have to reacquire my sea legs. 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Beaufort and Hilton Head SC

We spent the afternoon in Beaufort SC. Don't get confused this is not Beaufort NC, very easily distinguished because of the way they are pronounce. In NC they say Bowfurt, in SC it is pronounce Bewfurt, now you know!!  Well, Bewfurt is lovely with Spanish Moss hanging from the tree everywhere. The bigger houses along the river have been restored with the help of funds from the National Hisotic Trust.  
Apparently after the movie Gone with the Wind came out, a lot of columns were added to homes to imitate the fictional Tara. I was at a book store and picked up a second hand copy of Margaret Mitchell's masterpiece and am currently immersed in it. 
We headed down to Hilton Head yesterday.  It has been developed since the 1930's when a bridge was built to the mainland.  The huge homes along the river are new and the architecture is fun to critique. We motored about 2m up the river to anchor so we could go into town and found quite a few derelict boats in the area. 

How sad.  There was another which was listed over in the weeds.  When we asked about it we were told that the owner did not pay his Marina bills so they towed it into swamp, threw out the anchor and left it.  A few days later it was floating free on a very high tide, so they towed it to a different spot, at low tide it was completely out of the water, it will some tow job to get it fom it's resting place. Hilton Head is know for it's golf courses, there are 20 in the area and a PGA event takes place here.  It is a big island and very spread out so we did not get a chance to see much.  I was on a mission to get some new cockpit cushions and we took a cab to Walmart to see if they had any. They didn't but the parking lot was a surprise. 
Imagine, that is a Walmart parking lot!!!  There are strict ordinances on the island about signage and maintenance of the rural feel of the area, they have done a great job. 

Sailing Info.

We are using "The Intracoastal Waterway, Norfolk to Miami, A Cockpit Cruising Handbook" by Jan and Bill Moeller. It is a small guide with few pictures and has references to bridges, anchorages and marinas by the mile number along the waterway. We just purchased the Waterway Guide, Atlantic ICW, Intracostal Waterway, Norfolk VA to Jacksonville Fl, published by Waterway Guide Media.  It is a great guide, with introductions to cities along the way, plus it is updated yearly about conditions on the waterway.  It is sponsored by Marinas, etc. but also mentions anchorages and their pluses and minuses. 

South Edisto River, SC   32*33.2 N X 80*25.3 W
Anchored in 4m with very good holding.
Protection to the NE but very open from the E
No services. Good place to stop to wait for high tide for next cuts. 

Beaufort, SC   32*25.7 N X 80*40.5 W
We rented a mooring at the Downtown City Marina. 
Great deal, $20/day, free courtesy car for 1 hour, very strict, showers, laundry.
Groceries and a KMart by car and downtown within close walking distance.
A lovely town with lots of wonderful history, well worth a stop.

Hilton Head Island - Broad Creek SC  32*10.7 N X 80*46.6 W
Anchored in the river in 5m, anchored dragged first time, reset and let out more chain. 
Palmetto Marina let us live our dinghy there for free. 
Had to take taxis for any services, except fuel. 
Not a stop I would recommend, unless you rent a car or bicycle. 
Be mindful of the tide when you anchor. 

Savannah, GA  32*05.0 N X 81*05.5 W
Stayed at the Hyatt Regency Dock on the Savannah River. 
$3/ft, includes electricity and use of hotel facilities, workout room with showers and pool, ice machine. 
Worth the stay, great access to historic downtown Savannah. Great stop 

Five Fathom Creek, GA  32*05.1N X 81*02.2 W
Located about 1 1/2 m downriver from Savannah, anchored in 7m, very good holding. 
Just off the Savannah River, big tankers go by. 
No services, just across from Fort Jackson which looks like a interesting spot to visit. 
Not much protection. We did not want to go through another cut in ICW to more protected spot because we had no knowledge of cuts. 

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Christmas in Charleston

Well not quite but they had a parade of boats last night and we had met some people on the dock so we had an impromptu Christmas party.  We sat on a boat that was registered in Iqualuit of all places (they are from Montreal, never been to Iqualuit, a tax dodge) and drank wine and honked their air horn at the boats with gorgeous displays.  We ended up on our boat, we fed a single handed rocket scientist, and then the other boat joined us for Christmas cake, shortbread and rum balls.  The fellow from Montreal kept saying he loved my balls. It was great to have a celebration with interesting new friends. 

We had a whirlwind trip around Charleston and the weather was absolutely beautiful  This is one of the first things we saw and I thought it was such a great idea. Then we indulged in some good southern cooking, I had ribs with collard greens and Barry had shrimp and grits and we each ate half of each place, both were delicious.  That evening we went out to a musical history of the City of Charleston.  It was very well done with the music from before the American Revolutionthe Civil War and some spirituals which the African Americans sang to give messages about the Underground Railroad.  I really loved their rendition of Swing Low, Sweet Chariot and ending with a super piano duet of Gershin's Rhapsody in Blue.  
                                          A 13 inch Civil War mortar, huge. 

Yesterday we borrowed some bicycles and cycled through the South of Broad area of Charleston.  There are beautiful homes with outstanding wrought iron work, we were told that some of it dates way back, if the work was good if the house fell apart, people would take the iron work and put it on a new home. We visited the free exhibit about Fort Sumter. It had an excellent display about the conditions leading up to South Carolina being the first state to secede from the U.S.  The first shots of the Civil War were fired on Fort Sumter.  Charleston was blockaded and was under fire from Union positions on small islands in the harbor and ships.  It was bombarded for over 500 days, at the end people were starving and the city was in ruins. One church was rebuilt from the bricks of the former building on the same space.  Charleston has had every disaster hit it, the great fire, an earthquake, the bombardment during the civil war and Hurriicane Hugo in 1989, one of the worst to hit the east coast. It is quite the city!!
Check out the wrought iron balconies! The side porches on the pink building wer built that way to catch the ocean breezes. Someone decided to liven up the town by painting her house in the pastel colours popular in the Caribbean islands and it caught on. 
                            What a beauty, I think it's some kind of a roadster. 

                             Aren't the Christmas decorations on this tree great!