April 22. Today we left our private little pond just south of New Smyrna Beach and headed north towards Saint Augustine. We’ve decided to stop just short of Saint Augustine and wait until Tuesday the 24th before we arrive.
Christy’s parents and her brother and sister-in-law are all meeting us there so we’ve reserved a slip starting on the 24th. We thought we’d arrive close to the 24th and anchor nearby rather than anchor in the craziness of Saint Augustine itself.
We had picked a few places that we thought looked interesting to spend the night and as we arrived at each one we discounted them as being undesirable for one reason or another. Finally when we got the last one it was just right.
We’re only 2 miles from Saint Augustine and are on the inside of a bend in the ICW. There’s a shallow area between us and the boats traveling the ICW so they can’t come plowing through the anchorage. There’s only one narrow entrance into an area of 8 to 15 feet of water
We are well aware that by traveling on a Sunday that we’re breaking one of the cardinal rules of cruising Florida, Stay Where You Are On The Weekends. We got overtaken by some type of Sea Ray fest. At least a dozen of every different size, all traveling together one after another, wide open in a canal 60 yards wide. There’s barely any breeze and the tranquil surface becomes a confused sea with 5 foot white water coming from every direction in moments. The wakes are so big that there actually bouncing off the sides of the canal and coming back at you again. It wasn’t really that bad for us but there were little bass boats, bow riders and oh my god you should see what that does to a pontoon boat. We could actually see the entire bottom of pontoon boats as they were twisted and tossed. An hour later we ran into the same group as they returned back down river reeking havoc on any unfortunates in their path.
Speaking of pontoon boats, they’re everywhere here. It’s like golf carts in a retirement community. Families, fishermen and retirees all out and about enjoying the water. Also very popular here are the backyard boatlifts. Nobody has their boat in the water in their backyard. The wakes from passing boats would reduce their boat to scrap in no time.
The trip here today was very nice. We started out motoring in about 4 knots of wind. We came around a corner and there was a sailboat ahead of us with his main up so even though there wasn’t much room to maneuver we threw ours up as well. We picked up a third of a knot in boat speed and were slowly gaining on them. The wind picked up ever so little and up went their genoa. It was still to light and fluky for us to raise ours but we were continuing to gain on them. Then I realized it was the Germans.
THE GERMANS. Just before dark on our last night at anchor in our private pond a beautiful sailboat ghosted past. It’s a very sleek craft with virtually no freeboard and long overhangs. The thing just looks like speed. The boat is without a motor of any kind. The Germans, Hans and Franz, (humor me) have to sail through every tight spot, against any adverse current and through every bridge. We can hear the bridge tenders all having fits trying to determine “if the sailboat approaching from the south would like an opening”. They must not speak too much English as they never acknowledge the bridge tenders until they’re right at the bridge and it sounds something like, “bridge openzie sailboat yah”.
So anyway, we’re both fighting another head current moving along at a little less than 6 knots. Except we’re motor sailing and they’re under sail power alone. We are right behind them when we enter a wider body of water rather than the breeze killing canals we’ve been transiting. There’s still only a narrow channel but there’s enough water around to allow some wind to build to 8 or 9 knots. I decided to pass them on the low side since they were only sailing, I didn’t want to steal their wind. Of course, the half knot advantage in speed we had was gone as soon as we sailed into their lee. Now we’re committed to passing and are both doing exactly the same speed so we unroll our genoa and pick up enough speed to get by. The wind continued to build and by the time we got to our chosen anchorage we’re doing close to 8 knots under sail. We passed several sailboats and even managed to overtake a trawler.
The late day course was a winding affair so it was tough to keep the genoa filled as the path turned left and right. So it was a day of put it up, take it down. It’s amazing how gratifying an extra knot here or there can be.
We were sitting at anchor with PAC’s and got to watch as the Germans once again slid past in the diminishing breeze of the early evening.
Boat Name of the Day. Its not really a boat name but we were passed by 8 Grady Whites full of old people. They were evidently on their way to a marina for a luncheon and when they arrived they hailed the marina and announced that the Grady Bunch was there. Grady Bunch………I thought it was funny.