Life in Florida

New Smyrna was about as adventurous as its name. The (walk to) laundromat was extraordinarily bad, the food was…ew! The accommodations were what’ev’s, and the anchorage was a complete disaster! I (James) won’t bore you with most of the specifics from above but I just absolutely have to dis the anchorage. We fucking hooked a wreck…of course! …but one just like it (but not visible) that took us a powerful amount of alternate tenacity to weigh off of! Fuck!!! And yet we prevailed without having to hire a diver. And yet we left. We’ve seen more wrecked boats down the ICW that I (Dena) dreamed possible, even after what we thought was the dead-boat-fest of North and South Carolina the year we poisoned ourselves with a cracked water tank and petroleum-fouled drinking/cooking/cleaning water. The docks that aren’t in tatters are freshly replaced or have busybusybarges attached to them, bringing them back to level. It’s a clear lesson on how precarious things are here in the hurricane belt. …And yet there is life. So much mostly un-photographable tenacious life! The prop-injured dolphin, the pelicans, the manatee, the sharks, the gators, the white ibis, always with the fucking cormorant, the osprey, the ubiquitous egret… And as we celebrated having gotten free of New Smyrna, the dolphin played around us and I (Dena) got breath-spray on my sunglasses in an unexpected benediction. We motored on down to the Space Coast and saw what was the first live launch for each of us. The next day, we raised the anchor again (so many anchor-aweighs this year!) and headed toward the Haulover Canal. In the canal I (James) saw this with my own eyes, I shit you not, I saw a Pelican jump on the back of a dolphin because he/she had just eaten the[…]

Read more

The Moon and Mars

Another night where it never got dark! Hold on there, brushfire, we got some story tell’n to do! So we rolled on down the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway meaning, we trudged along on the dead bodies of the vegetation of the dinos…or whatever. Our mother-fucking diesel engine, okay?! I (James) fucking hate that thing! Anyway, the water was so foul off Blount Island, Florida, that we didn’t dare make R.O. water into the tanks. So we had to go ashore for fresh water. We went ashore at Clapboard Creek Fish Camp to load water from their fish-cleaning station. I know, that sounds totally gross and believe me it turned out to be worse than expected. That water had absolutely the foulest sulfur-dioxide smell we have ever experienced in either of our lives. It was…shit, is! I mean I almost gagged now just thinking about it…the worst water we have ever tried to drink. They, “the interwebs”, say that it’s very common in well water in Florida and that it can be treated with bleach but I say it’s unhealthy to drink a beer-fart. We dumped that shit overboard, pulled up the hook and went on over to the Sisters Creek free dock to fill the tanks. The dock filled up quick and an all-Canadian party ensued. We’re not kid people so we quickly disappeared below decks for a nice quiet night on a very busy dock. The skies in Florida are a constant lesson in contrasting dramatic extremes. And so are the currents. We waited for all the bigger boats to leave the dock the next morning before pushing off, which turned out to be kind of a bad idea. Dena was at the helm this time and we had a strong pushing current from the aft port-quarter as well as[…]

Read more

The five to four ratio

Remember the cracked rib thing a couple of blogs back? Well as it turned out, a four day offshore adventure a couple of weeks after doing that is taxing…to say the least. I (James) needed some peaceful anchorage time after the sail from Beaufort to Fernandina Beach. So, even though Fernandina Beach sports the ugliest anchorage we’ve been in on the East Coast of the US, we stayed for five whole days and nights. It’s not like we sat on our asses and stared-at-shit the whole week, sure there was plenty of that, but we had provisioning to do. We ran the primary propane tank out offshore so refilling that tank was job one, requiring a two-and-a-half mile walk to the propane-getting-place. Then we went grocery shopping and packed an oob back to the marina with a ton of shit…then into the parking lot…then onto the dock…then into the dink…then through a totally packed anchorage back to the boat…on to the boat and into the lockers. A totally normal day, over…Dranks! Once you’re in the little town of Fernandina Beach it pretty much looks like every small town on the Florida coast. Lots of Pink, yellow and orange stucco, sand, and palm trees, you know the “American Dream”. There was a visiting replica-tallship, the Nao Trinadad, that was really cool to pull up to in the dink but really that was about it. If you remember from last time we took a four day nor’easter down the coast from North Carolina, so when we showed up in Florida it was on the heels of a pretty chilly cold front. That weather system was the first big winter storm for the eastern seaboard this year and kicked the asses of pretty much everyone north of us. In northern-most Florida, it just[…]

Read more