Thursday, May 15, 2014

Cumberland Island

Next stop was Cumberland Island.   We had an awful trip from St Augustine to St Mary’s Inlet.  It rained and was cold. It was not forecasted to rain and was a most unpleasant surprise.   However the next day was beautiful and we explored Cumberland Island and it was worth it.   A great place.  Only down side was the water was brown.  Not milky but the color of strong tea or weak coffee.   Such a shock after being in clean beautiful water for 2 years.   The current was very strong and the boat faced many directions during our 2 night stay.  A whole new world was before us having not stayed in Georgia prior.

Oh My!   The brown water.  Kirk said it was from the cypress trees.

Boat house on top of boat lift.    You can see the tidal change on the poles.   This also was something new as we have not really dealt with tidal change in 2 years.

The river path to the mansion.  It was fabulous!

I think these were buzzards.  They were big birds for sure.

Pretty majestic in flight

Love those shady walks.   This tree lined "road" reminded me of Kirk's family "ranch" driveway.

The entrance to the mansion

The mansion ruins from the front.   oh my so sad.

This is Donna in heaven.

This is why. 
 I got to observe a group of wild horses for about 40 minutes before any other tourists showed up.   Watching the interactions between the mares, youngsters, this colt and the stallion was fascinating to me.

The setting was not bad either.   This is the back of the mansion facing the water.  You can see the little colt on the left.  He got up from his nap, found his mama, had a snack and then took another nap.  Kirk let me be and went on and adventure and I then watched the horses interact with the tourists that had arrived.  

Most of the foundations, walls, steps, etc. were made of oyster shell.  Some had a concrete face.  Kirk was amazed at the tree that had grown out of this foundation.

The spanish moss!!!

The trail to the beach.   There were camping sites off of this trail.   It was so good to smell campfires!!

We saw this guy on the beach.   Thought he was quite funny looking.   Later we found out he is a cannon ball jelly fish.   

One of my favorite things is walking on the beach.
   I definitely felt peace with the horses and the beach.  

This place was a jewel.   You can only get there by boat. There is a ferry a couple times a day.  There is water along the trail to the beach for the camp sites along with bath houses.   It is Cumberland Island in Georgia.   Google it, you will be amazed at what you find out.  I hope we can come here again and stay for a while as we did not get to explore as much as we wanted.

Ainulindale makes it to US

We made landfall at Fort Pierce, Florida.   The inlet current had us going 12 knots.  We had a good time in Fort Pierce as we got charts at a West Marine, grocery shopped at a real store. We had nice showers at the marina.   Stacey got a bike from the marina and went exploring.  So good for her.   I can't remember why we did not go but we didn't.  We stayed 2 nights.  Met a family next door who are getting ready to leave and we talked with them one night and shared our thoughts about heading south.  The high light was we got to have dinner with Jay and Ginny.   So good to see family.

Our next stop was Port Canaveral.   Another busy port this one with 5 cruise ships all jammed in there.   We got in around 3 pm and left for St Augustine at midnight.   It was a crazy rough departure in the night in the inlet but we made it out and on our way.  None of the space station towers were lit like they were on our way down.  On to St. Augustine.   Bridge of Lions here we come!!!

After finding our way through the channel, we picked up a mooring ball outside of the Bridge of Lions in St Augustine and had a bad night with the current banging the mooring ball into the hulls of the boat. We were extremely happy to find that Ryana had arrived there earlier in the day.  The next morning first thing we did was head for the marina.   We got fuel and then headed for our slip.  Much to my awful surprise the current was so strong I could not control the boat and Kirk had to take over.   We did a little bump into a piling but no harm done.   Scared the dickens out of me.  I felt so badly that I could not control the boat.  Another first and another lesson learned.   We had a good time with Ryana going to dinner, visiting a winery (it was awful) and just visiting.   Some friends we had made 2 years ago in the Bahamas, and also saw when they chartered a boat in the BVI's drove 1 1/2 hours to have dinner.   What a delight to see them and share dinner with Don and Susan.  Thanks Don and Susan for a fun night.   Sadly, we said goodbye to Stacey and she flew back to Seattle.   It was great to have her on the boat with us.

Here we are at San Sebastian Winery.   If you are ever in St. Augustine, DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME in going.   The wine was horrible.  The place was pretty cool.   The tasting room was lined with the barrels as shown below.  Diana and Ryan are laughing at me making faces and in my quiet manner of giving my opinion of the wine.   We did get some good glasses and a wine aerator but no wine.  During the tour they talked about how good the wine was and the grapes and on and on.  Maybe I was just too let down.  Definitely not my kind of wine.  Matter of fact, no one liked it out of 4 people.   

The entrance to the Bridge of Lions.   One evening we walked over the bridge to the island and explored.  Problem was there was nothing that we wanted over there so we came back.  Was still a good walk and the view from the bridge was cool.

Ainulindale in her slip in St. Augustine.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Back to Heading North

We headed out of Marsh Harbor across the sound to Great Guana Island and anchored in a bay towards the north to be prepped to go through the “whale” the following morning.   The “whale” is an inlet where you go out into the ocean and have a beam sea for a while.  We did not have any problems however we did some surfing coming back into the next inlet.    On to Green Turtle Cay and anchored there.   We went ashore and explored Plymouth.  It was fun.  We had lunch at the “Wrecking Tree” restaurant named for the tree where the Bahamians would bring the salvaged goods from wrecked ships and have them weighed before sending them to Nassau.  We shared one Gumbay Smash at the shop that invented them. Kirk and Stacey later went ashore to Green Turtle Cay.  I had had enough and stayed on the boat.

Stacey and I with Plymouth in the background.  We had a good time.  

Church welcoming all to visit

Walking down the street in Plymouth

Ok  so the story goes that Miss Emily who was a tea totterer made the first Gumbay Smash.   It is the Bahamas drink that will get you snookered quickly.   So we kept tossing around do we want to go there???   No one wanted a drink so we decided we would go there and get one drink and all taste it.  So we did and Kirk took our pic.   The drink was good but very frozen and I took the first sip and it was mostly rum.  We were served by Miss Emily's grand daughter.  Keepin it in the fam.

We also got an ice-cream while we were there so it was a fun trip to shore.

From Green Turtle Cay we sailed to Great Sail to stage for crossing the Bahama Banks to West End.  There were about 40 sailboats in Great Sail the night we stayed there.  We picked our way through the Indian Rock cut.   Kirk was on the bow watching depths, Stacey and I were at the helm, Stacey calling out the depths and me trying to keep on course.   We made it!!!!  and stayed the night in Old Bahama Bay Marina in West End Grand Bahama.   We had stayed in this marina on our way down 2 and a half years ago.  

Stacey across the beach from the boat at the marina in West End.

Sunset over the ocean.   Too bad land was in the way.

The next morning we headed out to cross the gulf stream.   We had a great crossing.  At some points the ocean was as flat as “golf course pond”.  We did not get to sail as we had no wind but we rode the gulf stream for a while and made great time.   We did see turtles, porpoises, fish. Man0War jellyfish and these crazy little brown and yellow birds that kept landing on the boat.   They were most entertaining.

This little one had no fear and and was with us for a while.   We even closed the door so he would not fly into the cabin as we could not get rid of him.