The Journey of S/V Moonshine

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010


We're moving south but not fast enough. We find ourselves now in Titusville, FL and it's cold here. The low is supposed to be 25 degrees tonight. That's like below zero by Florida standards. It's been quite a ride to get here though.
     We stayed in Charleston for several weeks to get a few things done while there. We moved the car down so we would have transportation in the area and the folks there are nice enough to allow us to leave it there while we are spending the winter in the Bahamas. We also looked at a few houses there again, even though we're not sure we want to settle there anymore. We're just not sure were we want to end up. We manage to finally get out of Charleston and head south towards St. Augustine and pick up some packages there that we had sent thinking we would get there first stop from Charleston. NOT!! We got into the St. Augustine area around 2:am and decided to just sail south a bit and stall for time and then come back up north to come into the entrance in the morning........NOT!!! The wind kept building, the wave kept building!! I turned around at around 4:am and headed the 10 mile back to the St. Augustine entrance. By 6:am after pounding around for 2 hours I have gone a whopping 2 nautical miles. Terrible! Decided to swing south and go to the Ponce de Leon entrance 48 mile south of us. The waves were a constant 5' to 6' with an occasional 10 footer or bigger thrown in to keep things exciting. Needless to say coming into a narrow, rocky, windy, wave tossed entry was way exciting. All hands were on deck to watch for rocks, markers, boats sitting on the edge of the calm fishing. I just had to put the engine to full speed and surf into the entrance while waves were crashing on the jetty 50' away and shooting spray around our boat. Wow what a ride!! It's hard to explain an adrenaline rush like that. Got settled into a little backwater on the inside and could watch the waves crashing over the jetty from 1.5 mile away. Incredible! After that and seeing that the weather was to worsen we decided to travel the ICW for a few days. Came down to Titusville, Florida and have been here for four days. Shane ran into some kids he could hang out with so he is happy for a while. We rented a car and Christie and I ran up to St. Augustine to pick up the package we had sent there and the next day we went out to the Kennedy Space Center. That was very interesting. It was amazing to see all the sites that I have been seeing since I was little and the Space Program had just begun. Quite impressive to stand beside a Shuttle and it's fuel rockets. There was also an excellent 3D Hubble telescope film. Lots to think on after seeing all those things.
     Well we are off to find the warmer weather tomorrow. We'll head south on the ICW and perhaps go outside down the way till we get to West Palm Beach/ Lake Fort Worth area till we get a good weather window to go out to the Bahamas. We'll make the jump out to the "Banks" and spend the rest of the winter cruising around out there. So that's all for now. Sometime I'll catch you up on the trip south. Pictures are on the way.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Let me step back a bit

I thought that I'd try to go back and let folks know about some of the the highlights of our travels this past summer since I did such a poor job of keeping up with this blog. I know there are some readers that are interested about how and what happens as we travel. For the future, I'm also trying to link our daily log into this blog. I don't know if that's possible but if I can do, it it will keep you more informed on the daily happenings. We'll see how that goes.
So it looks like I left off after Shane finished working at with the National Scout Jamboree, so I'll go from there.
We moved from Urbana, VA to Deltaville, VA when Shane finished with camp. We wanted to be closer to the Chesapeake Bay and Fishing Bay Harbour Marina had much nicer facilities. It was a hot summer in the east and it was nice to have a pool as well as a more convenient slip set up. The whole idea at this point was to get Shane caught up with his schoolling.  That part went pretty well.  I also got a lot of work done on the boat and it was nice to cool off in the pool in the afternoon. This marina also had quite an active social atmosphere. There were inprompto parties and potlucks on a regular fact almost too regular. We made many new friend at this marina.
     Then came Hurricane Earl. Though many hurricanes started forming off of Africa and headed towards the eastern seaboard, Earl was the only one the came really close. The sailors in the area became quite concerned about this one. We weren't sure exactly what to do so.... we decided it would be a good opportunity to pull our boat out of the water and get some work done to it.  It ended up the Earl didn't affect the area but we were glad to get some things done. We installed an extra intake for a saltwater wash in our galley which also serves as a seawater supply for our refrigeration unit. We also pulled off all our sails and canvas which gave us a opportunity to inspect all those item. Along with a new bottom paint job, we refinished a lot of our brightwork (outside woodwork). We managed to stay pretty busy. After getting resplashed, it was time to start sailing north for the Annapolis Boat Show. We got many recommendations for places to stay along the way and one of them was anchoring in Mill Creek up near Reedville, VA. This is a great anchorage. Beautiful wooded shoreline surrounds it and very protected from the weather.
     Hey, Shane here. Yeah, its hard to keep up on this blog. Most of my computer time is spent updating my Facebook. Let me see, Mill Creek. Yeah, that place had this cool forested area with a beach and a bit of a cliff. I tried to climb up it, but fell into this dust mini explosion! It was awesome. Well, my dad and I had a fun hike back there, found a really old/rotted fish cleaning area and what appeared to be an old tornado path. That forest was the kind of place fairytale/elfen areas are made up, those plants did some interesting things.
     Mike back. So off we go north. Our next stop: The Solomons, VA. This area has great marinas, grocery stores and restaurants. The anchorage was great with mooring balls available at a reasonable rate. We could also pay for showers here and they were great too. Leaving in the morning, we had a bit of engine problems when a drain valve for the cooling system blew out. We anchored quickly and ran down to check the alarm going off.  Located the problem but had drug anchor in the meantime. When we looked out, we were dragging right up to a dock. This is usually not a good thing and my first reaction was to bring in the anchor some to pull us away from the dock.That worked well and then Shane said "Let's just tie up to the dock."  Duhh!  So we backed off the anchor, pulled the boat around to line up with the dock, and tied off.  Luckily, the anchor (which had been dragging) was loose enough to pull up. Unluckily the dinghy ended up under the fuel dock. Oh, what to do??  Ended up squeezing Shane into the dingy and under the dock which he then worked it out under the dock to the other side and out. Tight squeeze!  Of course, we ended up staying another night after running all over town to find another valve.  It wasn't to be found.  So we plugged the drain hole which wasn't a critical situation, and then headed to Annapollis, MD, in the morning. During this segment of our travels we were told several time that it was not good to go out into the Chesapeake Bay as there were 20+ knot winds and 2 -4' waves. "Yeeeeha," we said.  Being a heavy boat, that is when an Island Packet really does well. We ended up sailing wing on wing, with following seas most of the way from Deltaville, VA to Annapollis, MD.  It was a great ride!!
Having friends already in the anchorage in Weems Creek of Annapolis, we called ahead to get the lowdown. They informed us that there was a Navy mooring ball available in the area and we should hurry and get there. These balls are available first come first served to anyone that wants to use them. However, you can get kicked off of them if the Navy decides that they would like to use them.  Fortunately, they don't use them very often. Weems Creek is a great back water area, well protected, and has easy access to the Annapollis area.  The buses in Annapolis suck!... but that's another story. We spent a great three weeks in this location visiting with Christies cousin, Pam, and her friend, Wendy, a couple days; enjoying the boat show a couple days; and access to several marine stores that specialize in parts for our boat. We bought most of the items on our "Wish List" and had them shipped to back to Deltaville, for installation when we returned to the area while heading south. I'll save the southern trip for the next post.