- Katharine Hesmer
DAY SEVEN | December 20, 2021
Fernandina Beach to Flagler Beach FL
Greetings from incredibly charming —and FREEZING!!!—Fernandina Beach! WHAT HAPPENED??? It’s also blowing 22 knots with gusts of up to 34, and is gloomy and gray!!! Are you SURE this is Florida?! I have obviously jinxed myself by daring to brag about how infrequently we’ve used the space heater through NC, SC, and Georgia. But never would I have GUESSED that the coldest and windiest conditions we’d face would be in Florida. WTH!!!
Fernandina afforded us the opportunity to refill our two water tanks for the first time since we left on 12.14. Each tank holds 150 gallons of water, which sounds like a lot, and it is, BUT, they also supply 7 fixtures: the toilet, the shower, the bath sink, the kitchen sink, the washing machine, the hose on the bow and the shower on the stern. We don’t have a water maker, which would be a smart investment to consider in the future. So we have to be super frugile with our water use, especially with zero experience on how quickly a 4-person family can drain 300 gallons of water. For example, when I was dishes, I’ll rinse the clean cutlery all at once and turn the water right back off. As of this writing, I have taken a grand total of one shower. So…be glad this is a blog and not a YouTube video and we’ll leave it at that.
Ron and I were watching Skeet on the bow on this dreary day in the 20+ mph wind, wrapping himself up a little more tightly in his coat with a smile on his face and ear buds in his ears listening to music. Ron said, "That boy loves an adventure, doesn't he?!" He's basically perpetually happy. And naturally kind. And the best part is his mom isn't the least bit biased.
7:25 am, Skeet: Mom, here's our first bridge . . . ready to do some fun counting?!”
It may be cold and windy, but the scenery is still really beautiful, and I love cruising along, not having a clue what I’ll see next. Today we saw GOBS of dolphins in the ICW — too many to take in, really, and Steve thought he had died and gone to dog heaven. That poor boy is going to have heart failure.
The other thing we saw today were HUMONGOUS homes right on the water. Most of them also had gazebos that were really spacious and honestly pretty extravagant but attractive. We’d see people who had a covered area next to a large uncovered patio with nice outdoor seating and an area for grilling. The part that surprised us was that while these outdoor areas were definitely on pilings vs floating docks, they were only about a foot off the water rather than elevated like they are in Wilmington. It’s a pretty sweet setup, but I’m not sure how that works during a storm. Seems like they’d be easy targets for getting washed away.
One thrilling (!!) part of our journey included the promise of delivering a toilet Ron had deinstalled from our Great Harbour earlier this summer. Yes really. Someone in Palm Cove Marina near Jacksonville wanted it, so we’ve been traveling down the ICW with a toilet on the stern. But before you let visions of the Beverly Hillbillies dance in your heads, rest assured that it was discreetly wrapped in a box covered in black plastic. We are a class act. Said no one ever.
This stop was a drop-and-go (…PLEASE don’t blow up 😱 my comments with puns — they are too painfully obvious 💩. Just be glad I didn’t say that word that rhymes with plump….) so no leg stretching, or more importantly, restaurant breaks 🐷. I work out so hard and then wonder why I don’t look more like Fonda. Gee I can’t imagine what the difference could possibly be. 🤔
Back to the bridge topic again, Skeet was right about how many bridges we’d encounter in Florida — by my scientific count, there are a ton of ‘em. One funny thing that happened this afternoon was determining whether or not we could fit under the beautiful St. Augustine bridge. Looking at the bridge clearance displayed on the tide board, we felt pretty confident we had enough room if we took down our antennas. From the bow, Skeet said to Ron, “You’re GOOD, captain. You are g-o-d-d…..GOOD!” So much for that public school education we thought was so great. (Actually, all kidding aside, I still DO. Very much so. I’ll never EVER be able to adequately express my appreciation for the love and support we encountered through their Special Ed program for many, many years. Absolutely incomparable.)
And speaking of St. Augustine, when I saw it in the distance, I could have SWORN that someone had made a hard left at some point and that we had magically arrived in Europe. As most of you probably already know, St. Augustine is the oldest city in the U.S.. Founded in September of 1565, it’s known for its Spanish Colonial architecture. And it’s lovely. I wish we could’ve stopped, but we are on a mad dash to Miami. By comparison, Fernandina was settled in 1685, which would explain its historical and visual appeal as well.
Skeet has been doing the daily calculations of how much farther it is to Miami, and how many miles we need to log each day to get there by the 23rd, which is the day our slip reservation begins at the marina, which is of course prepaid. Of course. Skeet did the math and based on our daily average of around 70 nautical miles, we wouldn’t arrive at the marina until late on the 23rd, and we are not big fans of tying up at a slip in the dark. Today we motored much later than we ordinarily would, until around 6:30 pm. Our goal each day is to be setting the anchor by sunset, but we blew off that plan to make up some time. This had its pros and cons. Pro: we got a lot farther than we ordinarily would have in one day; con: we ended up in a narrow section of the ICW without anchorage options, AND had to anchor in the dark. Usually you can find a little harbor off to the side and be safely out of the way. But not this crowd! We anchored right smack dab in the middle of the ICW, and didn’t worry too much about it, because we are well lit at night, and there’s been zero boat traffic in the evening. Until of course, tonight. Wouldn’t you know it, but within an hour of anchoring, not one but TWO tugboats went by, and one of them was SUPER pissed at us. Oops I mean angry 😂. Honked his horn and yelled some obscenities out of his window. Something along the lines of “GET THE F OUT OF THE MIDDLE OF THE CHANNEL”. Oops. We didn’t have any options except to throw out a stern anchor so we’d at least be tucked off to the side a bit and not swinging haphazardly into and out of the channel. The issue with getting “out of the way” was that there quite literally was nowhere to go except into two feet of water.
The evening was fine though, with no more boat traffic, no more cuss words, and a peaceful night for sleeping.
12 hours / 81 nautical miles