Birds are not dumb. They head toward warmer weather in the winter, and so we are adopting their migratory tendency. We started our journey south on November 1, and shivered through the first few cold fronts of the year. We had hoped to avoid as much of the slow and tedious (and shallow) ICW (inter coastal waterway) as possible, and opted for offshore jumps where we could.
In North Carolina, we stopped again a Cape Lookout and, for the first time, at Bald Head Island. Both had scenic light houses that make for scenic backdrops.
Cape Lookout Lighthouse - Can you tell what time of day it is?
(Hint, the black diamonds point north/south)
Making time during our busy life to go fly a kite!
Bald Head Island Lighthouse
Our friends Larry and Candy on s/v Saphira, we got this fun picture offshore of NC
Leaving Bald Head Island, we made our way offshore to Charleston, but didn't stop in town because there was no room at the marinas and the anchorages were not very protected. Continuing past Charleston, we made our way to Beaufort, where we spent about a week working our way through various anchorages and spending time in this historic town.
South from Beaufort, we made our final overnight passage and entered St Mary's, GA. It was approaching Thanksgiving by this time, and the town puts on a fantastic dinner for cruisers. Everyone is welcome, you just bring a dish or two to share. The final count for dinner was 175 guests. It was a great experience and showed how generous people can be on this great holiday. Oh yeah, and we got to stuff our faces with turkey...
175 hungry people waiting in line for some turkey dinner!
St Mary's marina and anchorage at sunset with the anchor lights - Tatiana's anchor light is in the middle in the distance
Of course, a visit to St Mary's would not be complete without a stop at nearby Cumberland Island. We were here in the spring and this time we were forced to find new ways to explore the island. Hurricane Matthew damaged some of the docks, so that the main dinghy dock was not available for us use. As a result, we headed north to the Plum Orchard house, and north again to the anchorages on Brickhill Creek. Wow, this island continues to surprise us. Plum Orchard house is a museum about the wealthy families that lived and vacationed on this island. At the north end of the island, we found a cute little church among other homes where the workers of the plantations lived.
Plum Orchard with resident wild horses
First African Baptist Church of Cumberland Island
South of St Mary's, we entered FL, and somehow, it seemed that the weather knew we were in Florida and immediately started warming up. We stopped at Fernandina Beach, and enjoyed touring the historic Ft Clinch that we had passed entering St Marys Inlet.
Fort Clinch on Amelia Island
South of Fernandina, we nosed our way into Fort George Island, where we found the historic Kingsley Plantation, and a terrific anchorage.
Anchorage at Fort George Island and Kingsley Plantation...can you find Waldo?
We stopped again for a brief overnight at St Augustine, and next at Fort Matanzas, where we again nosed our way into a shallow anchorage and were rewarded. Fort Matanzas is a fascinating fort built by the Spanish to protect the south entrance to St Augustine. It seemed so small compared to the main fort of Castillo San Marco in St Augustine, but it was effective at protecting this ocean inlet on several occasions.
Further south, we stayed for a brief night in Daytona before finding another small and protected anchorage at Ponce Inlet. A repeat anchorage for us, but this time we were prepared when we visited the lighthouse and museum (there is an entrance fee, and last time we were walletless). What can I say, the museum was an illuminating experience.
Ponce Inlet Lighthouse
South from Ponce Inlet, we spent a brief night in Titusville, and then moved to Cape Canaveral where we stopped for two weeks to take care of some important business in Chicago...Happy Birthday, Sis! While in Cape Caveral, we saw two rocket launches – a night and daytime launch! It was fun to see (and hear) these in person.
Our final stop in Florida would be Lake Worth/West Palm Beach area, and we were treated with our first travelling visitor for the trip...my brother, John, visited us for a few days. We had a great time with him aboard!
I'm still trying to get me a good catch!
Merry Christmas from Ft Pierce!
Yes, those are palm trees decorated with lights with a light show set to music!
We are now in Lake Worth waiting for weather to head east to the Bahamas. In the mean time, we wish everyone a healthy and happy New Year!