NOVEMBER---Cumberland Island, Georgia to Vero Beach, Florida

As noted in last month's log, we left Beaufort, North Carolina on October 30 for a 48 hour run on the outside to St. Mary's Inlet. After entering through the inlet, we anchored off the Sea Camp Ranger Station on Cumberland, Island. Cumberland Island is Georgia's largest and southernmost barrier island and is a national seashore.

Carl took the following picture of me returning from the east side (ocean) of the island. We are in an area of sand dunes--reminded me of Lake Michigan sand dunes.

Walked around the southern part of the island through a huge oak forest. Cradled in the branches of the oak trees is the Resurrection Fern. This fern will turn brown when it is dry and then spring to life with moisture. Draping Spanish moss swayed in the breeze as we walked by. Carl said he wasn't sure if the oak forest with the moss was pretty or was it spooky?? The forest floor is packed with palmetto bushes. As we walked along the road, it was so quiet we could hear Armadillos digging around the palmetto bushes for food. Saw so many creatures when we walked around the island---wild turkeys, armadillos, feral horses, and vultures. I was surprised that the horses did not run away when they saw us. They simply looked us over and continued on with what they were doing before we disturbed them.

The following picture was taken on the walk through the oak tree forest. Notice the Spanish moss.

Visited the Dungeness Ruins. Revolutionary War Hero General Nathanial Greene purchased land on Cumberland Island in 1783. Following his death, his widow Catherine Greene, constructed a four-story tabby home that she named Dungeness. Thomas Carnegie and his wife Lucy began building another Dungeness on the original foundation in 1884. The Carnegie’s Dungeness burned in 1959. Today only the ruins remain on the site. It is fun to imagine what the mansion and grounds must have looked like when the Carnegie's and their friends were there.

The following pictures are of the Carnegie Dungeness Mansion---Before the fire and After the fire. Can you see the vultures sitting on top of the chimney?

At the northern end of the island (which we did not visit) is, The Settlement which was established for African American workers in the 1890's and the site of the First African Baptist Church. Just to give you more of  Cumberland's history---The First African Baptist Church was established in 1893 and then rebuilt in the 1930’s. It was the site of the September 1996 wedding of John F. Kennedy, Jr. and Carolyn Bessette.

Pictured below is the interior of the First African Baptist Church on Cumberland Island.

After spending the day on the island of Cumberland, we went for dinner onboard NOTTUS, the Saga we traveled with from Beaufort, NC for dinner. Had a great time with Jack and Annie. Annie prepared us a fantastic dinner. It is great traveling with other people.

That evening, a cold front roared through with winds at 30 knots and higher gusts. About 4 AM we woke to the sound of water slapping hard on the stern of the boat. Even though the winds were roaring from the north, the current was strong enough to turn our boat so that the waves building from the wind slapped against the stern. It was a good thing we heard the noise and got out of bed to check the anchorage because about 15 minutes later, NOTTUS came drifting down on us. Carl yelled for me to grab the air horn and blast it. Jack on NOTTUS acknowledged that he was awake and trying to deal with what was going on. The two boats, NOTTUS and DISCOVERY, were engaged in a horrid dance. Both boats used their engines to try get away from each other with no luck. Instead, NOTTUS seemed to be doing the dosy do around and around us. Decided to continue our efforts to stay away from each other until it was light enough to see. At sunrise, Jack came over to our boat to help Carl raise the anchor while I was at the wheel and engine controls. Sure enough, NOTTUS's anchor was wrapped around our anchor chain---through the worst of the front, DISCOVERY'S anchor held both boats in 40 knot gusts! It took about 30 minutes to untangle the mess. Never so glad to get away from another boatin my life.

Since the anchor was up, we decided to take the ICW (Intra Coastal Waterway) and start heading south to a more protected achorage with LESS current. It was a cold, overcast day with northeast winds gusting to 30 knots. The ICW is protected enough that we traveled 52 nautical miles. Anchored north of St. Augustine at Pine Island as far away from everyone as we could safely do. The wind was still blowing and we had a current but the current wasn't as strong as the one we dealt with at Cumberland. Had an early dinner (good hot soup) and went to sleep early because we didn't get much sleep the night before! At 4:40 AM, I heard a hard knock on the port bow (right next to my head). Both of us tear out of bed, run to the bow to help the boat that hit us (his anchor did not hold so the current pushed him into our boat). Pushed him away, saw him motored further up the anchorage away from us so we went back to bed.

Next day we enjoyed a slow, lazy morning before heading 12 nautical miles to St. Augustine. The winds had decreased to 15 to 18 knots and the sun was starting to break through the clouds. Almost had a heart attack as we passed by the Castillo De San Marcos Fort. The fort was firing canons and right behind us was the schooner, FREEDOM, was firing back. A canon going off when you are not expecting it can scare the @*#& out of you!

Sunday morning was so quiet and peaceful at the St. Augustine anchorage. I was standing at the bow talking on the cell phone with my parents in Texas when I noticed a catamaran drifting from its anchor. Carl got in the dinghy to investigate. He rapped on the hull of the drifting catamaran (TUCAN)---no one onboard. Carl used the dinghy to push the cat away from our boat. However, it was now headed for other boats in the anchorage! Carl went over to a neighboring sailboat and requested their help. Soon, 3 guys were in their dinghies helping Carl get TUCAN under control---the owner left the keys in the ignition so Carl drove the cat and his helpers dropped the anchor (as far away from us as possible). We could not believe our luck (or lack of luck)---.three days in a row we had boats drag down on us. Our luck had to change!

Below  is a picture of the cat TUCAN. Three guys on the bow are helping with re-anchoring. Carl is at the engine .

Sunday afternoon, we went into St. Augustine. Had lunch together at a popular spot.. Carl returned to the boat while I played tourist in St. Augustine. St. Augustine is the nation's oldest permanently occupied European settlement--founded by the Spanish in 1565. In the late 1880's it had its birth as a resort community with the arrival of Standard Oil co-founder  Henry Flagler. Flagler started construction on the Hotel Ponce de Leon in 1885; three years later he opened that grand resort. "The Season" lasted from January until April--guests had to reserve their stay for the entire duration. Today,the Hotel Ponce de Leon serves as Flagler College famous for its Tiffany Windows, artwork and architecture.

The following pictures are of Flagler College (formely Hotel Ponce de Leon). The first one is taken in one of the courtyards and the other picture is taken from across the street.


Flagler's second hotel, ALCAZAR, was constructed in 1888. It is now the LIGHTNER Museum. Included in the museum's collection are Victorian period memorabilia, stained glass art by Louis Tiffany, painting, sculpture, toys, porcelain and furniture.

The following pictures are of the Lightner Museum (formerly the Alcazar hotel). The first picture is of the front of the musuem. The second picture is of an urn from the Czar's Winter Place. The last picture is of me in the courtyard (with a palm tree growing out of my head)!


From St. Augustine we traveled 60 nautical miles to an anchorage south of New Smyrna Beach and then another 62 nautical miles to Melbourne. Nothing notable to report except all the fixed bridges were approached slowly and delicately. With the full moon and recent rains the water was high so that the vertical clearance was less than normal. Going under two bridges, our VHF radio antenna which is flexible "tinked" along the under surface of the bridge as we passed under it.

Rented a car in Melbourne to drive to the Kennedy Space Center. What fun! We did the Maximum Access tour which took us on a bus to the building where the space orbiters (i.e., DISCOVERY) are assembled. DISCOVERY was on schedule to be moved from the assembly building to the launch pad the day we visited--however, it was too windy so the move was delayed. We were pretty disappointed! To offset my disappointment---by luck we saw one huge alligator in the ditch soaking up the sun's rays.

The following pictures are from the Kennedy Space Center. The first picture is of the rocket garden. Next is a replica of a space orbiter and last is of the space orbiter moving to the launch pad.


My favorite exhibit was the Apollo/Saturn V Center. I remember watching TV as the first man stepped onto the moon’s surface. In the facility you see a massive, real Saturn V rocket! The Apollo/Saturn V Center is a tribute to the Apollo Astronauts and the machines that got them there – and brought them safely home. It is simply amazing. What courage it took to sit at the top of that massive rocket.

Take a look at the size of that rocket

The exhibits are interesting but the most very best part is the IMAX Theater with 3-D movies. You can not miss this.

While in Melbourne we also attended the Seven Seas Cruising Association (SSCA) Meeting. Met three new boats--Alex and Pat on PELICAN, Bunkey and Geoff on PARTY OF TWO, Kathy and Willis on WHISTLING WIND.  All three boats will be in the Bahama---first trip for Alex and Pat. Saw many cruisers that we met at the SSCA Meeting last year or met somewhere along the east coast from Maine to the Bahamas.

After the SSCA Meeting headed for Vero Beach where we will stay until the planned projects are completed (approximately  December 15). Did not attend the Vero Beach Cruisers' Thanksgiving as planned. Instead, we were invited to Ann and Jim Catchick's Thanksgiving Party. Ann and Jim lived in Pentwater for a couple years. We did not know them when they lived in Pentwater but did know who they were. The Catchick's invited about 45 people over.....most of the guests are CLODs (Cruisers Living On Dirt). It was a great Thanksgiving. When we were told to be seated for dinner, Jim told Carl "You will be sitting in the Carriage House also known as the garage!"

I'll close this month's activities log with a list of completed projects. Replaced the regular bulb on the anchor light with a LED (low amperage light). While Carl was up the mast, he took a few pictures of boats in the anchorage (bird's eye view). Replaced the aft diesel fuel tank with a larger capacity tank designed to fit in the same space (well, almost the same was a tight fit requiring grinding of fiberglass--oh what a mess). Shortened and replaced twoof the side stays (the rigging had stretch).

Carl took the following pictures while he was up at the top of the mast replacing a light bulb. The rigging did get in the way but the pictures give a great view of the mooring field at Vero Beach


The following pictures were taken during the fuel tank installation. In the first picture you can see the new tank in the back. The second picture is of a dusty Carl---looks like someone dropped a 10 pound bag of flour from 4 feet up! (002 and 003)


December's activities log will cover the new radar arch and the Mainsail Stack Pack since they are not installed yet.

Submitted on December 2, 2006 by
Marilyn Thoreson



Trip log