First to catch up. Yesterday we went from Marineland Marina, Florida to an anchor ball at Fernandina Beach, FL. 69.10 Nautical Miles (NM). Today we left Fernandina Beach at 6:56 am went through the Cumberland Sound and headed north in the real Atlantic Ocean! We are headed to St. Catherines Sound, about 59.3 NM as the crow flies.
We are running about 6 NM off shore, at 8.5 knots with a tail wind and a bit of current pushing us north. This is our first time off shore in Rincon Feliz. It has been raining since we arrived in Florida and we are glad to have a rainless day. Mostly cloudy, but keeps it a bit cooler!
We are learning about all sorts off things today such as, setting a course and navigating it with auto pilot, dumping the tanks at sea outside the 3 mile zone, making fresh water (after traveling a bit beyond dumping.) This is all done while moving. No need to stop.
Yesterday was a bit of an adventure. We traveled through several inlets to the ocean on the IWC, some with quite the currents. It was also raining and provided some good challenges and teaching experience crossing a strong current, trying to find navigation aids to keep in the channel. The ICW is not always very deep. I have no pics specifically a we were busy…. navigating and piloting. We did well.
Later in the day, minutes from our stopping place for the night in Fernandina Beach, FL, some s-curves to navigate. A shallow area, at a very low tide with lots of known shoaling. Dang, we ran aground twice! Turns out this is not uncommon on the east coast where there are many shallow, shoaly spots. AND, this spot is a favorite of the tow boat captains according to the sail boat right behind us stuck on another sandy shoal. Grounding sounds serious, and it can be, but on a slow boat like ours with a shallow draft, you typically get stuck in a muddy, sandy spot that is just at the draft of your boat, (in our case, about 5 feet). Submerged.
Our expert Training Captain Bernie expertly showed us how to use reverse, (the direction we came from) and our bot and stern thrusters to rock us back and forth (slowly) to loosen the mus/sand and slowly back out. If lucky. A rising tide did help as well. We do have a boat towing policy for these sort of situations, but these guys just told us to wait out the tide. We would have probably floated free in, maybe an hour???? Jim may not like it, but he was the one who grounded us. But, it just as well could have been me. My experience of that is still to come!
Closing tidbits. Cell service seems to go out 5 or 6 miles. Thus, I am writing this post while transiting.
On the boat, we are mo ing the speed of the wind,about 9 knots. Thus, hardly any breeze. It is hot!