October 12th, 2012

October 12th, 2012

October 12
Okay, Somedayers! Here it is-today’s blog!
Tropical Attitude motored out of Golden Isle Marina (mile 677.2), St. Simons Island, Ga., (pic. 1)this morning and proceeded through St. Simons Sound out into the Atlantic in hopes of shaving off some mileage today. It wasn’t to be as the wave heights and choppy waters convinced TA’s crew to turn back and return to the calmer waters of the ICW. (pic.2) Turning back caused us to travel against the tide then as you can see from can #19. (pic.3) Yes, that’s the tide rushing past on the left side and we swore we heard those pelicans laughing at us. “Hey, Myrt, you owe me 5 fish. I told ya they’d turn back!”
Pictures 4, 5, and 6 are good examples of just how low the water goes in a low tide. Yes, that’s the bottom you see where the water’s edge stops. That dock pole shows how high it had been a short time before.
TA crossed Jekyll Sound and moved south into the Cumberland River past the Cumberland Island shoreline. (pic.7) This island is known for its feral horses. Myth has it that they came some time in the 1500s with the arriving Spanish conquistadors. Unfortunately, we never saw any of the horses but the Parks Dept. warns island visitors to stay out of their way.
Picture 8 shows a bridge’s water board marks. These marks show exactly how much clearance we have to tuck Tropical Attitude’s mast under a bridge. It’s a treat when there aren’t any marks. NOT! That’s when one of us lays on our back and stares up calling out, “Ah…ah…ah…okay! We got it made!”
Picture 9?? Now THAT’S today’s AGHHHH!!!! Capt. Greg calls it our 2-Bounce! You see, with a 3-Bounce, you don’t get off and one must call Towboat US. Yes, you guessed it…TA became grounded by bouncing once and then got stuck on the second bounce. The picture is of the whirlpool we left behind when Cap’n’s skill (and the bow thruster) got TA off this unexpected shoal; that and a few choice cuss words. Heads up at the red marks 60 and 62A in the Cumberland Dividings!
We passed along the shoreline of the Navy Submarine Base at Kings Bay, Georgia, under the watchful guard of a patrol boat. Pat was only armed with a camera but that didn’t seem to matter as the boat followed us for some time. (pic. 10-11) Just after that a Coast Guard cutter passed TA and chose to share much of its hefty wake. Way to “rock us”, sailors! (pic. 12)
Finally, pictures 13 and 14 show the port on the western inlet of Amelia Island, Florida. It provides terminal service to over 15 pulp and paper mills in this part of the country. So that’s TA’s day in a nutshell. She’s docked at Fernandina Harbor Marina just beyond those big loading cranes waiting out tomorrow’s predicted high winds and choppy waters.
Here’s wishing you a “calm” weekend!

October 11th, 2012

October 11th, 2012

October 11
Good evening, Somedayers,
Let’s hope your evening is off to a pleasant start!
Tropical Attitude departed the Herb River anchorage just south of Whitemarsh Island, Ga. (mile 585) at the early hour of 7:30 a.m. The sun was just rising in the east and the waters were off to a calm beginning. That’s the way TA’s crew always likes to start the next leg of their travels.
We worked our way down the Wilmington River to the Skidaway Narrows Bridge, arriving just in time for the on-demand openings. Some bridges involving busy thoroughfares only open on the hour during the 7-9 a.m. and 4-6:00 p.m. rush hour times or only on the half-hour. We found the bridge tender today to be in such a good mood and only too willing to help us on our way. We did note in the chart book that this bridge will soon be replaced with a 65 foot fixed bridge as the new one appears to be about halfway complete. Replacing tendered bridges seems to be occurring more and more in areas that are becoming more populated.
TA crossed Moon River (yes, Pat broke into song), down the Vernon River, through Hell Gate, a hold your breath passage; across the Ogeechee River, down the Bear River, across St. Catherine’s Sound, down the North Newport River, into the Sapelo Sound, into the Front River, down the Old Teakettle Creek, into the North River, to a nail biting passage called Little Mud River. That and Hell Gate were pretty much what we had built the day’s navigations around. After those two passages, everything else seemed a breeze…almost. One of our photos shows a questionable water depth that we dealt with. Add in tide, currents, wind speed, waves and one has quite a smorgasbord of opportunities to make a big oops! We continued down Buttermilk Sound to the Mackay River and finally into St. Simons Sound and back up the east section to our night’s resting place at St. Simons Island. We’d talked about anchoring again with Arcadian but they chose to stop midday and we just knew we could push Tropical Attitude further down the waterway. This crew actually did their longest trip to date as a team on this venture to the tune of 92 miles…and we still came in at daylight, barely!
Capt. Greg came up with a new game today called “What Number Is It?”. It got so bad that he and Pat were both laughing! At one point, he asked what mile mark we were at. Shortly after he asked what day mark had we just passed? Then he asked what mile mark we started at. What mark is the marina at? What time is it? What mark is Hell Gate at? How many miles have we gone so far? How far is it to Little Mud River? What time is high tide? How many fingers am I holding up? Yadda yadda yadda!
Our dolphin friends appeared out of nowhere all through the day, always too far away to get a good picture. Trust us; they were flipping out of the water all day with their play. We were in awe as we watched a bald eagle fly across in front of us and glide gently to the top of a pine tree. Such a regal bird!
Georgia has been a quick passage for us but we will bid her goodbye tomorrow as we finally pass into Florida waterways. Let’s hope the rest of TA’s traveling weather was as beautiful as today…full of sunshine and cool breezes…Capt. Pat’s favorite!
Today’s Nautical Lesson: fender- a cushion placed between boats, or between a boat and a pier, to prevent damage-some are in the shape of cylinders; others might be round globe-like cushions
boat hook- a short shaft with a fitting at one end shaped to facilitate use in putting a line over a piling, recovering an object dropped overboard, or in pushing or fending off. (In the Erie Canal, it was used to clip a boat’s business card to and passed over the canal to us.)

October 10th, 2012

October 10th, 2012

October 10
Tropical Attitude threw the lines off from Beaufort, SC, this morning at 8:00 a.m. to begin a “froggy” trip from mile 536 down the Beaufort River past Paris Island. She crossed the Port Royal Sound and ventured down Skull Creek past Hilton Head Island and the fog finally lifted. It was still chilly and those side curtain zippers got another work out. Zip up, zip down, zip up, zip down. We crossed over the May River into Calibogue Sound where we heard this hailing, “Arcadian to Tropical Attitude”. It was the crew from Arcadia, John and Jan, who had apparently passed us by at some point in the last day or so. We reconnected and continued to follow them for much of the day.
The flutterbies we’ve encountered in the past week have again joined us as well as continued dolphin sightings and those crazy pelicans. Don’t you just love watching pelicans land in the water? It’s such an ungracious kerplop that makes one chuckle at the sight.
We’re including in tonight’s post a photo of a beautiful cutter rig sailing vessel docked along the waterway. The picture doesn’t do it justice as it had to be at least 100 feet long. Pat wanted to get on board and take a look see down below so-o-o bad! It had to be gorgeous!
TA passed a lot of working vessels today from a fishing boat in the Calibogue Sound to a tug holding a barge tight to shore at the Savannah River crossing. Bales of hay were being fork lifted off the barge onto Jones Island, where there appeared to be no developed area. Not quite sure what all that hay was for. Any ideas? We also passed another Coast Guard vessel in the form of a large inflatable. That group with lights flashing had a small power boat pulled over. There appears to be a strict “no wake” enforcement around here.
We continued into the Wilmington River and encountered one of the most hospitable bridge tenders we’ve come across on this trip. He was at the Causton Bluff Bridge and the man actually had a sense of humor. That bridge was opened faster than greased lightning! We’ve included a pic as this will forever be our favorite bridge.
TA then turned up into the little Herb River at mile 585 to throw down an anchor for the evening. Arcadian is again anchored just ahead of us. It’s absolutely beautiful here where we have the savannah on both sides, little to no water traffic, and only the sounds of the cranes and other wild birds hiding in the grasses. Well, okay, we did hear a marching band or something like that just after dark. Wednesday night junior varsity football, perhaps?
Tomorrow we travel through an infamous cut called Hell Gate. If we have the tides figured correctly, we’ll be just fine…50 more miles down, about 500 more to go…
Today’s Nautical Lesson: ranges (photo of one included)-consists of two marks (usually towers or multi-pile structures) that aid in keeping a vessel in the channel when they are brought into alignment. Ranges often have vertical fluorescent orange stripes to aid in daytime navigation. When the front and back marks are aligned, the orange stripes are aligned. They are usually lit at night with red lights.

October 9th, 2012

October 9th, 2012

October 9
Okay, Somedayers! Tomorrow we’re outta here…that’s out of Beaufort, SC, and back on our way south. Tropical Attitude woke to the heater running this morning. Can you believe that? It WAS cold; cold enough that Cap’n Greg and Pat resorted to digging out the jeans, long sleeve shirts, and fleece jackets. Who would have thought?? The day was cloudy and gray and on the damp breezy side.
Since the decision had already been made to layover here due to the weather, the crew decided to venture into town and see what was what. Beaufort is a quaint little city with buggy rides and tour buses everywhere. It must be a very popular tour bus stopover as there were people all up and down the streets and in the various artsy shops.
On our way back to the boat, we stopped by the marina office/store as we noticed there was a courtesy car out front. Many marinas have a car available at no charge for transient customers to run errands with: to the grocery store, the Laundromat, the post office. We asked the gal if we could borrow the vehicle and before we could finish the question, the marina manager was nodding her head yes and said, “of course!” She quickly changed her mind and laughed loudly when she got the rest of the message. Our question was in whole, “Can we borrow the courtesy car to make a quick run to Ohio?”
TA got herself fueled up this afternoon, one water tank was filled, and she got a freshwater bath to get all that saltwater off the deck. So she’s ready to roll. More work was done down below decks on oiling the teak wood and some preplanning was done by the Cap’n for tomorrow’s departure.
Cap’n Greg had originally worked out plans to head out into the Atlantic tomorrow for a 100 mile trek, which would have taken us past Georgia and eliminated a lot of the inlets and shallow areas in the ICW. Unfortunately, after speaking with several other sail boaters who had arrived at the marina and rechecking the weather reports, it was discovered there are and will still be 4-5 foot waves out there. If you’ve been boating very long, you know that when it’s predicted to be 4-5 footers, one can almost rest assured that translates into 6- 8 footers at least. Anyway, that’s the way it usually works on Lake Erie’s west end. We are not doing this to get beat up so we’re back to the ziggy-zag dance tomorrow and less headaches (or stomach aches!).
One vessel that has arrived here is Vixen , a 37 foot Beneteau, and her crew, Larry and Terri. We passed them way back when we first met up with the crew of Arcadia. They are heading home to Jacksonville, Fla. and stopped here for a few days due to engine trouble. The other sail boaters we’ve visited with had names, too, but we were so enamored with their Jack Russell, Matey, that we can’t recall the name of the boat or its crew. Dogs can have that effect on you.
The big news for Cap’n Greg and Pat is from the phone call they received from their son in San Diego. They are going to be grandparents to TWINS! OMG!
That’s all, folks! Have a great evening!
Today’s Nautical Lesson: Backstays- those long lines or cables that reach from the stern of the sailboat to the mast head and are used to support the mast. Shrouds are ropes or cables used to hold a mast up from side to side. Tropical Attitude has only shrouds due to the design of the boat. There are two on each side of TA, lowers and uppers.

October 8th, 2012

October 8th, 2012

October 8
Well, Somedayers, the good weather we’ve been having finally left us last night. The crew on Tropical Attitude woke this morning early to the sounds of rain on the deck and gray clouds covering the entire skyline. Our decision was made and Cap’n Greg and Pat both went back to bed electing to avoid a really crummy day on the waterways. The first few pictures in today’s blog let you experience some of what what we viewed through the porthole and through the enclosure windows. Uh huh…not exactly appealing conditions to travel in, especially in shallow ziggy zaggy creeks and such.
So what does one do on a cold, yes, cold, windy, rainy day aboard a boat? Well, Pat ran the sweeper, cleaned the galley, made brunch, cleaned the galley, baked cookies (yummy-yum!), did some boat paperwork, answered emails, caught up her log, prepped dinner, and cleaned the galley one last time for the day. By the way, the cookies were yummy with a glass of cold milk! Cap’n Greg checked on dock lines, checked tide tables and weather conditions for tomorrow, phoned some friends, worked on charts for the next few days’ travels, and ended the day with a DVD. Of course, he got into the cookies, too, before they were even cool! There are a few left so if you hurry, you can get some. We’ll leave the light on!
Today’s Nautical Lesson: Anchorages are areas where boaters can throw down an anchor for the evening if choosing not to utilize a marina. A proper anchor and plenty of chain on the bottom will increase the holding power and dampen out any swinging. Swinging occurs when the direction of the wind changes and the tidal movement changes. A second anchor may sometimes be used to reduce swinging; especially if the anchorage area is crowded with other vessels. Often anchorages are near a channel but that channel needs to be kept clear for local traffic. An anchor light on a sailboat’s mast is lit at night for identification by other vessels traveling at night.

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